The 10th anniversary of the Rotary Club of Kigali –Virunga is a joyous moment to reflect back and identify the highlights of the life of our Club.

The long walk to ten years we are celebrating today started in 1999 at the then Hotel Diplomat at the site where we had Intercontinental Hotel and today’s Serena Hotel. The shift from Hotel Diplomat to Umubano Hotel (Meridian and now Laico) has become the seat of the Club since 2000. The Club holds its statutory meetings there every Wednesday from 7: 00 pm to 8: 00 pm.

The birth of Rotary Club of Kigali fits in very well with the history of Rotary fraternity in Rwanda. Since 1986 the Rotary Club of Kigali, Club Doyen, paved the way for more Rotarians in Rwanda to join the rotary family world over. In 1999,on the advice of the Governor of the District, 9150 the Club mandated Past President Rotarian Carry Alles, Rotarian Mary Barikungeri and Rotarian Peter of Salvation Army to continue meeting English speaking individuals around Kigali in order to sensitize them on the values and norms of rotary family.

Most of those they met agreed to hold meetings every Wednesday every week at 7: 00 pm for one hour. I was among the new recruits together with Charter President Rotarian Gerald Mpyisi, Rotarian Joseph Ssali, Rotarian Ambassador George Stapples (USA), Rotarian Ambassador Monna Egypt, Rotarian Late Florence Nkera….This initial group paved the way for the growth of our club which kept increasing in membership year after year.

Rotary Club of Kigali –Virunga like any other rotary clubs functions on a well established structure. It has a record of ten Past Presidents with a tenure office of one year each. It operates within a framework of four committees namely: Club Service, Community Service, Vocational Service and Public Relations. To meet the obligations of the club as member, and to be able to carry out its annual obligation, members pay their annual dues on time thus allowing the club to perform its Rotary International duties to Rotary Foundation, to District 9150 which the Club belongs to.

Today, the Club is proud to have a Paul Harris Fellow one every year and currently Rotary Club of Kigali Virunga has eleven Paul Harris Fellows (PHF). This has become possible thanks to particular efforts of the club but particularly to the Past President Raj Rajendran who alone has sponsored 80% of the PHF of our Club. He is always recognized as jolly good fellow.

Article by Rotarian PP James Vuningoma (PHF)

The Club has initiated and seen the birth and the growth of Rotaract Clubs of Kigali Institute of Technology (KIST) chartered in 2001, Kigali Institute of Education (KIE) chartered in 2002 and the most recent the Rotaract Club of School of Finance and Banking (SFB) in 2010. It also has on its record the set up of the Green Hills Academy Interact Club which was chartered in 2005. The activity of growth and expansion continues.

Rotary Club of Kigali Virunga is recognized for its initiative to have started building the Kigali Public Library. The project was taken on as its contribution to fight ignorance in Rwanda and cultivate the reading culture badly needed in the country. Several projects are on its record through Community Service such as Jaipur limb project at Kanombe Military Hospital, the supply of water wells, provision of books to youth centers and Higher Institutions of learning.

Other activities where Club members participated was in the campaign for tree plantations in Gahanga, Kicukiro District along Nyabarongo River. On education front, several students have been beneficiaries of school fees and on several occasions the Club has participated in the social welfare of sick ones and those deprived of essentials of life. To be able to meet those challenges the motto of Rotary “Service above Self” has inspired all the members by donating generously but also through various Matching Grants. Commitment to Rotary values has made the Club proud of what it is. Lastly, the Club has enjoyed the company of the Honorary Members of the Club to begin with Rwanda’s First Lady, Mrs. Jeannette Kagame (PHF), Col. Frank Mugambage, Rwanda’s Ambassador to the Republic of Uganda and Professor Romain Murenzi.