Lagos chess project offers Nigerian slum children new move
05 September 2019 | 2:14 pm
Seasoned chess player Tunde Onakoya started the 'Chess in Slums' project last September in a rundown neighbourhood of Lagos. The goal of the club is to provide a space to play and learn the game for the young inhabitants of the slum, many of whom are not in school and work to support their families. Some of the most impressive players may even have the chance to win sponsorship to get back into education.
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A dozen children crowd around plastic tables in the Makoko neighbourhood of Lagos. Intently focused on plastic mats printed with chess boards, the children thoughtfully move pieces on the board as supervisors observe their moves. Nigerian lawyer Tunde Onakoya started the "Chess in Slum Africa" foundation in the Lagos neighbourhood where he grew up to teach children that they can deploy the same strategies they use on the board to achieve their full potential in life.
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Bullied and abused by his peers because he has cerebral palsy, 10-year-old Makoko resident, Ferdinand Jesuwame, has found an ingenious way to get back at his detractors with his uncanny prowess across the 64 squares of a chessboard. And it’s all thanks to a non-profit organization, Chess in Slums Africa, run by national chess master, Tunde Onakoya.
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Tunde Onakoya, a former Nigerian chess champion, is teaching children from one of the poorest communities in Lagos how to play the game. It's a way of broadening their horizons and allowing the best players to access scholarships. Every weekend they work on improving their performance, thanks to Onakoya, who himself grew up in a slum. His charity Chess in Slums now wants to expand into other countries in Africa. Our France 2 colleagues report, with FRANCE 24's Camille Nedelec and James Vasina.
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Chess can change your life. That is what Tunde Onakoya, founder of Chess in Slums Africa, believes. He wants children to believe that their dreams can become true – even when the circumstances are hard.
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