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By Andrea Andres
27 August 2023

Nothing is more special than the magical moment of watching your child delivered into the world.  

However, when Tony's first child was born in Vanuatu, he found himself a world apart, living and working in Australia to support his family.  

It was a difficult decision, yet one driven by his desire to give his family the chance for a better life.   

When his wife, Benemwa, fell pregnant for a second time, luck was on Tony's side and he was fortunate to return home, eagerly awaiting the arrival of their twin daughters, Faith and Grace.   

But during their birth, unexpected complications arose, forcing Benemwa to undergo an emergency caesarean for the second baby. This crucial moment both terrified and encouraged Tony to step up when his family needed him the most.   

"As a father, I have never experienced the life mothers go through," says Tony. "Since Benemwa went through surgery and couldn't walk, she has to stay in bed. It's up to me to do the things my wife would normally do." 

 

A father helping his wife express milk
Tony helps his wife pump milk so he can feed their twins, Grace and Faith, while Benemwa is unable to.
© UNICEF Australia/2023/Mobbs

"Fathers have to take responsibility too and do the work mothers do."

Tony
Father from Vanuatu

A special bond between father and child 

Skin-to-skin, heart-to-heart

Discover Tony's journey into fatherhood and how a little practice called 'kangaroo care' helped him support his newborn twins when they needed him the most.

With Benemwa recovering from her surgery, Tony seized the opportunity to learn essential skills in caring for his newborns, with the support of medical professionals at the hospital in Vanuatu. 

"They taught me how to feed my two babies, how to carry them on my chest," says Tony. "UNICEF encouraged me to practice kangaroo care with my twins." 

Kangaroo care is a natural, effective, and low-cost intervention that can be utilised in any setting. A simple and nurturing process, kangaroo care sees a parent holding their baby against their bare chest, creating direct skin-to-skin contact. In places like Vanuatu, it can be the difference between life and death for premature babies.   

"It's a whole new experience for me," says Tony. "Thank you to everyone who taught me how to do these things, all the doctors and nurses." 

Learning how to do kangaroo care was a game-changing experience for Tony, bringing him closer to his children. 

"I feel wonderful with my two babies on my chest, it feels good. It's been really great to see my baby so happy that I'm holding her."

Tony
Father from Vanuatu
A father and mother holding their newborns close to their chest
Tony and Benemwa practising kangaroo care with their twins in Vanuatu.
© UNICEF Australia/2023/Mobbs

Today, Tony is confident in his new skills as a father, determined to learn do all he can to protect and care for his little ones. His biggest hope for his children is that they all live an easy and good life, a future that he promises to work towards for them.  

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. This Father's Day, show your dad how much they mean to you by sending him an Inspired Gift, a gift with double the impact.  

Here’s how it works: 

1. Purchase an ethical charity gift from our Inspired Gifts store 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 supplies will be dispatched from a UNICEF warehouse to wherever they're most needed. 

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

Send a Gift today