Family Challenge fundraises for mentally ill

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A team participates at last year's Family Challenge. Photo: Kamili OrganisationKenyan families have a chance to raise money for mentaly ill patients through a series of games and competitions at a time when financial resources for mental health is quite low standing at $2 per capita annually in low-income countries as reported by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Dubbed Family Challenge, the fundraising event will see 48 teams compete in 12 contests for two days with all the funds going to support Kamili Organisation,an NGO that deals in mental helath issues countrywide.

“It's an event we hold in Naivasha at Sanctuary Farm and it's in aid of an NGO called Kamili Orgnisation which runs mental health clinics in the community all over Kenya,” said Melanie Blake, Founder of both Kamili Organisation and Family Challenge.

Now in its seventh year, the challenge comprises of team building events for the whole family. The teams are made up of two adults and between two and four children who do 12 challenges over the two days.  The competitions vary and seeks to test the contestants on both a physical and mental level which according to WHO has various benefits.  For instance 6 per cent of deaths worldwide are due to physical inactivity.

“For example last year, the adults had to drive a tuktuk blindfolded and the children had to direct them. They had to climb-with wellington boots on-down into a dam, fill their wellingtons up, climb back up the dam and empty them into a debe,” said Melanie.A team takes part in last year's wellington challenge. Photo: Kamili Organisation

On the mental level, Melanie describes an example of last year's event.” One team member had describe a picture which was all in squares, circles and triangles. The other team members had to try and draw from instruction the picture which was actually of a house and a car,” she said.

Melanie Blake, a psychiatric nurse who runs Kamili came up with the idea for The Family Challege as not only a way to raise funds to keep the clinics open but also have an event whereby the entire family can participate, something that was not in the market at the time.

Some participant's at last year's challenge. Photo: Kamili Organisation“Rhino Charge is for adults, Hog Charge is for children and we wanted an event that would incorporate the whole family,” said Melanie.

Seven years later, Family Challenge has proved to be quite a success if the maximum capacity of 48 teams along with a waiting list was already achieved by June is anything to by. Even if families are not able to participate, Melanie encourages people to still attend as they can spectate and participate in a flurry of other activities such as camping and a barbeque.

Registration for the teams shall start at 10am on Saturday 12th September and continue up until the first challenge which begins at 3pm. Saturday's challenges end at 6pm with each contest taking 15minutes. During the registration time, teams will also have a chance to set up their camp sites, book their meals and pay for them. There will be a team briefing at 1.45pm and a barbeque at 6pm. On Sunday morning the challenge will run from 8.30am to 12noon which will be followed by a prize-giving ceremony.

“The prizes are the main winner, the family team winner, the most fundraiser, the winner for every challenge and the spirit prize for the child that has shown the most spirit of the event,” said Melanie.

Teams wishing to participate are required to raise Sh35000. There is also a Sh500 per adult and Sh250 per child conservancy fee and camping each. They can bring their own food or eat from the clubhouse.
For more information call Melanie Blake on 0720 131 583.

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