The International Day of Families was officially launched by the Social Protection Ministry’s Department of Social Services on Tuesday focusing on ‘Families and inclusive societies.’Being the agency with responsibility for social services in Guyana, the ministry has designated one month (May 15 to June 15) as International Month of the Families. During this period, the ministry will embark on a series of activities to encourage and strengthen families.A section of the participants of the eventIn her remarks at the event held at the Guyana Marriott Hotel, Kingston, Chairperson, National Commission of the Family, Sandra Hooper said that the family unit is the lynchpin of any society. Its main responsibility is the socialisation, education and protection of its members, particularly children and the elderly. She noted that in today’s ever-changing societies, the family often faces challenges in the execution of its role.Meanwhile, Director of Social Services, Whentworth Tanner explained that a functioning family is a microcosm of a functioning society, and that “parents and children have to work together in order to build a functioning family, Similarly, each of us has to do our part to create and sustain a functional society.”Tanner added that the family is the first school in which a child receives the basic values of life, that moulds his/her character and lays the foundation for their analytical capability. He noted that the ministry is cognisant of the changing complexity of the modern family – nuclear families are reducing and extended and single-parent families are on the increase.The International Day of Families provided an opportunity to promote awareness of issues relating to families and can become a powerful mobilising factor on behalf of families in all countries, allowing them to lobby for the protection and support of family issues appropriate to each society. A series of panel discussions will be held throughout the month with key stakeholders deliberating family-related issues. The event will culminate with a march for elderly awareness on June 15.