Get set for another fabulous round of Diani Rules
The hugely successful beach sporting event returns for its 28th year in support of East Africa charity Kwale Eye Centre. A calendar highlight in Diani, the event is held each year around the Public Holiday of Madaraka Day (1st June). Activities kick oﬀ on the stunning white sands of Diani Beach on Friday afternoon and culminate in a lunch, prize giving, raﬄe and auction on Sunday. The aim is to have a brilliant time, get sporty and help prevent and cure blindness.
If you are among the ranks of the unsporting, you may be pleasantly surprised. At Diani Rules, rules are made with a twist and are designed to be inclusive of all talents and abilities.
Common sports are adapted so that able and less able sports people can compete together on a more level playing ﬁeld. Football is played with a rugby ball, an obstacle race provides plenty of laughs and light entertainment while a tug of war early on a Sunday morning involves not two ropes but four. Table Fussballis also played with human players and the event would not be complete without a modiﬁed pillow ﬁght.The camaraderie and party spirit continues into the night and beyond with live entertainment and DJs.
Sports are played throughout the weekend in teams of 8 (or more). Three players in each game must be ladies. Local and national companies sponsor each team, often using the event as a team building exercise - which indeed it is. Each team wears colour-coded T-shirts with their sponsor's logo well displayed, making a colourful spectacle on the beach for onlookers. Some games are played in the ocean, but nonswimmers can participate as teams only venture into shallow waters.
All games are played in pools of 4 teams and points are awarded according to a team's ranking in each game. There are no ﬁnals and each team will win a prize, irrespective of their
position in the league. The most coveted overall prize encompasses the spirit of the event: “The Most Sociable Team” prize is given to a team carefully chosen by the volunteer oﬃcials and referees.
The weekend is set to thrilling non-stop music and participants are invited to hit the dance ﬂoor each night. A percentage of the proceeds from food and drinks sales (alcoholic and nonalcoholic) also goes to the charity.
In the early years of Diani Rules, funds were raised for local schools until the establishment of the Kwale Eye Centre to tackle needless blindness, which is notably high in this poor rural area. The main reason for this lies in the fact that many people cannot reach aﬀordable quality eye care. Cataract is the most common cause of blindness and a short operation can give someone back his or her sight. Shockingly, 80% of blindness is either preventable or treatable. If the barriers of poverty and lack of knowledge, which hinder people from receiving proper eye care, can be successfully overcome most cases of blindness can be treated or avoided altogether.
Kwale Eye Centre has grown from a basic clinic near Waa 10kms south of Likoni in Kwale to a large, well-resourced center with satellite clinics in Ukunda, Diani, Mombasa and Taita. Working from a grassroots approach with people in the community seeking and following up with those who need treatment, the Centre treats around 30,000 people each year. It also performs over 1,000 operations to restore or prevent blindness. Since it began 25 years ago, Kwale Eye Center has performed over 35,000 eye operations, of which 3,368 were funded directly by Diani Rules through the Poor Patients Fund. This fund means that the centre can treat people who need it even if they cannot aﬀord the cost of their treatment. Approximately half to one million shillings is raised by the Diani Rules event each year bringing it to its astonishing total of 14, 293,030 Ksh over the last three decades.