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By UNICEF Australia
30 August 2016

When everything falls apart, we all need someone we can depend on to keep us safe. For these children, that person was their father.

Read on for stories of courage and determination that prove the strength of a father’s love.

Nayaran saved his newborn from the rubble of Nepal’s earthquakes

Nayaran smiles at his newborn, Nirman
Nayaran smiles at his newborn, Nirman
© UNICEF/UNI186160/Sokol

It’s not hard to see why Nayaran’s in awe of his newborn son. Baby Nimran made an extraordinary entrance into the world, born in the narrow window between Nepal’s two deadly earthquakes in 2015. With most birthing centres damaged or destroyed in the worst affected districts, UNICEF and partners scrambled to create shelter homes for children and their parents to receive support.

Then the second earthquake hit and with an epicentre less than a kilometre from Nayaran’s home, his family’s world was plunged into chaos once more. As the buildings around them imploded, Nayaran was thrown to the ground and temporarily blinded by the billowing clouds of dust.

In a moment of panic the new father acted: he tucked his screaming baby under his shirt, and ran.

Nayaran’s quick thinking took the pair to safety on a clear road. Now, despite having lost his home, Nayaran is smiling.

"Someday, when we look back, we won't remember this as a time of loss or earthquakes - but as when our first baby was born. And he is a healthy baby."

This Father's Day, celebrate the dedication and generosity of your dad with a UNICEF Inspired Gift.

Lasaro battled Fiji's worst recorded cyclone to protect his children

This is all that remains of the Vota family’s home after Cyclone Winston devastated Navuavua village in Fiji.
This is all that remains of the Vota family’s home after Cyclone Winston devastated Navuavua village in Fiji.
© UNICEF/UN011483/Sokhin

As Cyclone Winston tore apart the house next door, Lasaro could only watch in horror. Then the cyclone started on his family’s house: first the kitchen, then the shower.

That’s when Lasaro knew he had to move his children fast. “I told my family to leave everything – the TV, radio, everything - don’t worry about it and go,“ he says.

Lasaro battled against ferocious winds to take his children one-by-one to a neighbour’s house. Pointing to the bandage on his hand, he says: “I got this taking my third child to safety, I lifted my hand to protect my face from a piece of flying tin roofing”.

As he went to get his fourth child, it was pitch black and the area had started to flood. Lasaro was walking blind and injured himself again, slicing his foot on another piece of tin roof that was in the muddy water. Despite his injuries, Lasaro managed to carry each of his five children through the strong gusts of wind to safety.

Now, as the family picks through the remains of their home, their loss is mixed with relief. Their home is gone but thanks to Lasaro’s quick action in crisis they’re all safely together again.

Khalid helped his children stay strong through the perilous route to seek asylum

Khalid, 33, holds his youngest son Karam, 4, outside an emergency shelter at the Jane Adams School on the southern edge of Berlin
Khalid, 33, holds his youngest son Karam, 4, outside an emergency shelter at the Jane Adams School on the southern edge of Berlin
© UNICEF/UN05638/Gilbertson VII

Twins Jannat and Amr, 7, and Karam, 4, have faced more violence and danger than any child ever should. But throughout their three year journey from the battleground city of Homs, Syria to refuge in Berlin their parents Khalid and Amira went to incredible lengths to safeguard their physical and mental wellbeing.

Khalid and his wife supported each other at every step. In Lebanon, they didn’t want their children to miss out on school so they started a new one. When the school was shut down by authorities after two years, the parents knew they had to keep moving.

And as they travelled by land and sea along the treacherous route to Europe, Khalid and Amira kept their children smiling: they called the journey a ‘family trip’ and took photos along the way to reassure their children that they were safe.

“I gathered all of the power I had to protect them,” said Khalid, pulling outstretched hands towards his heart.

Now, he can look to the future: “I want my kids to be successful. I want them to do something they’re passionate about, because they’ll be good at that. We’re exploring what those passions are now with them.”

Abo protected his family from shelling in Yemen

Happy father Abo holds Aisha, his newborn daughter.
Happy father Abo holds Aisha, his newborn daughter.
© UNICEF/UNI187337/Abdulbaki

All fathers want to keep their children safe but Abo had it harder than most. Little Aisha was born into one of the most dangerous places to be a child: a conflict zone in Yemen.

“When the rocket shelling was heavy, I had to rescue my family from Malla,” he says.

“We fled in a neighbour’s car until we reached to a school where we took shelter. My wife, who was eight months pregnant, went into labour and thank God she delivered safely. Every time I look at baby Aisha in the eyes I say, ‘may your coming bring peace’.”

​Show your dad how much you care with a UNICEF Inspired Gift

The greatest gift any father can give their children is the chance for a better future. Make Dad feel like a superhero: buy a clean water or nutrition Inspired Gift in his honour. It'll help dads like him around the world protect their children from malnutrition.

Here’s how it works:

1. Purchase a UNICEF Clean water & nutrition Inspired Gift to give a child the best chance to survive childhood and grow up healthy.

2. A personalised card will be sent to your dad telling him about the life-saving impact he’s making.

3. Life-saving nutrition supplies will be dispatched from a UNICEF warehouse to wherever they're most needed.

There's no better way to say thanks for all your dad did to give you the best start in life. Buy one instantly to make Dad's day and forever change the lives of vulnerable children.

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