The first ever kick off happened on 25th and 26th August 2018 at the Impala Club. The tournament featured 65 teams of 10 aside, featuring both boys and girls. It brought together over 2,000 youths to the Impala grounds on Ngong road to compete. The boys and girls , whose age ranged between the ages of 13 to 23 participated in the tournament with a special appearance of under 13 players. And what better language than football? It’s a language that speaks to the heart, a universal language. It transcends gender, age groups and religion.
The main goal of the tournament was to unite youths in a fun environment where they could access free individual and group counseling as well as HIV Testing in a safe space. In addition, it created an awareness on matters surrounding mental wellness as well as emphasizing the criticality of taking care of one’s mental wellbeing.
The tournament was deliberately organized in a format that made it all inclusive in terms of age, gender, as well as social class and status. Many youths in attendance came from some of the Nairobi’s informal settlements where crime, poverty, sex trafficking and substance abuse contributes to many mental health conditions including depression and suicide.
The Foundation was able to get support from medical facilities such as Chiromo Lane Medical Centre and LVCT who volunteered counselors during the two-day tournament as part of our bridging and partnerships strategic pillar for intervention. In total, more than 1000 young boys and girls received free group mental health therapy and hundreds of others went back for individual / private counselling sessions. They also got references for further care. Group therapy was part of the competition.
In attendance were the Foundation’s Trustees – Major Mike Kariuki and Mrs. Kariuki-the Founders of the Foundation, Dr. Sam Gakunga-the Foundation’s Chairman, Hon, J. Sakaja-Nairobi County Senator, Wambui Njoora-MD of Extra Dimensions, among other notable invited guests such as Rachel Shebesh-former Women Representative for Nairobi County.
In partnership with Tuskys Supermarket, the Foundation was able to provide food to all the competitors and volunteers as music and dance rented the grounds.