"I constantly tell them how beautiful they are to God, who created them, and how special they should feel," their father Ibrahima Ndyiaye said.
Raising kids is a beautiful experience, but it does have its set of challenges. Even more so if you're a parent doing it all on your own. When Marieme and Ndeye were born in Senegal, the family was shocked. They were also told that the siblings may not live long.
Conjoined twins are extremely rare and happen only once in an estimated 60,000 births. These infants rarely survive childbirth and if they do, they usually die soon after delivery. But Marieme and Ndeye, now aged 6, are proving experts wrong and are currently living life in Cardiff, Wales.
Marieme and Ndeye are the conjoined twins whose fight for life took them from Senegal to Wales. Their father, Ibrahima, is facing impossible decisions: https://t.co/X55v2zMxyS pic.twitter.com/5H0k9ODcKC— BBC News Africa (@BBCAfrica) February 2, 2019
"I constantly tell them how beautiful they are to God, who created them, and how special they should feel," their father Ibrahima Ndyiaye told PEOPLE. "How can anyone not see they are special? They're my miracles."
The siblings each have a heart and their own lungs, but they share a stomach, a liver, a bladder and a digestive system. Surgery in the UK would have allowed only one of the twins to survive if they were to be separated. "It was sacrificing one for the other, which in my moral, spiritual and parental point of view wasn't possible," Ibrahima shared. "I said no."'
Meet the Single Dad Raising 6-Year-Old Conjoined Twins Who Doctors Said Couldn't Survive: 'My Miracles' https://t.co/nszMf4Wy9B— People (@people) February 1, 2023
His wife moved back to Senegal and keeps in touch with her twin girls through occasional phone calls but Ibrahima decided to stay back. "It was a choice between my life in Senegal or giving the girls the health care they needed to survive," he said. The way he has raised his girls won praise from Elleni Ross, head of social work at Great Ormond Street, who has worked with the family. "Ibrahima has guided them on how to be kind to each other. He's so patient with them, and their faces light up when he comes in the room. Ibrahima tells them they're special, not disabled," said Ross.
Meet Ibrahima Ndiaye, the father of the Senegalese conjoined twins Marieme and Ndeye, pictured. According to reports, the girls are entwined, which makes it difficult for them to be separated medically— BlueprintAfric (@blueprintafric) August 10, 2019
.#blueprintafric #ndeye #senegalesetwists #african #Africanstory #twins pic.twitter.com/0OkzJKKxPs
There are serious challenges for the family to even get through the day. The twins cannot stand or walk on their own and cannot be easily carried by Ibrahima. Their situation is demanding physically, mentally and financially and a GoFundMe has been set up to help with expenses for the family. According to the fundraiser they are trying to raise money for "a vehicle to give Ibrahima the freedom to take the girls out for journeys anywhere and at any time he wants." The funds raised would also go to "help him have clothes tailored to fit Marieme and Ndeye - so they have a lovely wardrobe to choose from."
The single dad is trying to take things "one day at a time, one hour at a time." But he remains positive and grateful to be their father. "People see me as being in a difficult situation. I see myself as a lucky parent. I am blessed to be part of their journey," he said.
“Killing one of my children for another is something I cannot do”— CBeebies Grown-Ups 🎉 (@CBeebiesHQ) January 28, 2019
Two-year-olds Marieme and Ndeye are conjoined, and as they grow weaker, dad Ibrahima faces an impossible decision.@BBCWalesNews pic.twitter.com/wOJIvXRFmA
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