Photo exhibition featuring fathers and newborns
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12:27, 14 Jun 2018

The portraits of nine fathers who interact with their children during the first moments of life in the maternity hospitals of Moldova were displayed at an exhibition mounted in the Parliament Building on June 14. The exhibition forms part of the UNICEF global campaign “Early Moments Matter” that aims to drive increased awareness about the importance of the first 1,000 days of a child’s life and the impact of early experiences on the developing brain, IPN reports.

In a press release, UNICEF Moldova says the International Father’s Day is an occasion for reminding that the fathers can become attached to their children from very first days of their life, contributing to the harmonious development of the child. “The first 1,000 days of a child’s life, the time spanning between conception and one’s second birthday, is a unique opportunity when the foundation is laid for optimal health, growth and development throughout life,” stated Desiree Jongsma, UNICEF Representative in Moldova.

During this critical window of opportunity, brain cells can make up to 1,000 new connections every second – a once-in-a-lifetime speed. These connections contribute to children’s brain function and learning and determine the way in which these will cope with stress and even how much they will earn in adulthood, added Desiree Jongsma.

Speaker of Parliament Andrian Candu said an increasing number of fathers choose to benefit from paternity leave so as to be near the family when the child is born. “An increasing number of fathers, like those who took part in the photographic project inaugurated today, choose to be present at the child’s birth and realize the important role played by fathers in the child’s development,” he stated.

Since the paternity leave was legalized in 2016, over 3,300 fathers benefitted from the 14 days off paid from the mandatory social insurance fund. The law enables the parents to decide who will benefit from leave up to the child’s age of three.

“My children, Damian aged nine years and Tincuta aged three months, are everything for me. They are above music and arts,” said artist Alex Calancea, who attended the event. He noted he makes effort to spend the time nicely together with them.

Almost two-thirds of the world’s children under 1 year old – nearly 90 million – live in countries where their fathers are not entitled by law to a single day of paid paternity leave, according to a new UNICEF analysis. Ninety-two countries do not have national policies in place that ensure new fathers get adequate paid time off with their newborn babies, including India and Nigeria – which all have high infant populations.

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