There are many things that I value on earth, but top on the list are Family and Rotary. The fact that I have them both is something I never take for granted. To have a family is great, but to have a supportive family is a blessing. My joy lies in having a family and being a Rotarian. My strength is the support that I get from both. Resty and our children have been there for me and with me in so many ways that I wake up every morning and count my blessings. Having them by my side makes me proud, knowing that they love me makes me feel special and loving them back energises me. In the same way, the support I have received from you, my family of Rotary, cannot be rivalled.




I’m aware that this is not a situation that is unique to me. A good number of us have supportive families which we support in turn. However, we need to remember that while the family is a tower of strength for its members, it is a delicate establishment that needs each one of them. December is indeed an appropriate month that Rotary International has dedicated to the family. It is a month that sees a great number of family reunions across the globe. Let us then use it to strengthen our families even the more. Let us mend broken fences where necessary; and take time off to unwind as we have fun with our families and try to forget the rigors of the year.


Sometimes we are so taken up with our Rotary activities that we almost neglect our families. But we need to remember that there is no Rotary without the family. Let us use this month to get closer to one another and to our families. Our family members who are not Rotarians should not be made to feel that we are replacing them with Rotary. Rather, let them know that we are adding Rotary to the family to make it even more inclusive, more vibrant and more supportive.


As we interact with family and friends we should also let them know that they have a place in Rotary. Family gatherings provide good opportunities for discussing pertinent issues and the possible solutions. If each one of us makes an effort to highlight the importance of Rotary in providing solutions to the problems that plague mankind, the effect will be tremendous. We are likely to enter the second half of the year with more Rotarians and therefore more hands.


In the compassionate spirit of Rotary, however, I implore you to remember those who have no family to speak of and those who have families they cannot support. There are numerous aged people that are taking care of orphans, yet they can barely take care of themselves. Our streets are lined with homeless children and the few orphanages available are choking with unwanted infants. Such are the people we have chosen to stand up for as Rotarians. Yet they stand to see the festive season pass them by, another day, another period of hunger, disease and despair.


We shall stand firm therefore, and tackle the problems head-on, with the weapons available to us: our resources, our expertise and vocations. We shall do what we can to create happy communities made up of happy families, because every human being deserves a warm family.


By strengthening our families we shall build more capacity to engage Rotary and change lives. Remember, a strong family is a strong Rotary.


Emmanuel Katongole

District Governor, D9211

2013 – 2014