Learning to play chess is turning these kids’ lives around – BBC Africa

Learning to play chess is turning these kids’ lives around – BBC Africa


In the game of chess, a pawn can grow up to become a queen. You can grow up to be great, even though you are still limited by being in this community. My name is Babatunde Onakoya. I am a professional chess player and chess coach. I am the convener of the
Chess in Slums initiative where we are using chess educational resources, coupled with mentorship, to help children living in
slum communities [in Lagos]. It’s a very personal project for me because I learnt how to play
chess at a very young age. I grew up in a slum community
and learning chess saved me. Chess can actually connect
because there are no stereotypes. If chess could connect people, let
me take this back to where I grew up. We wanted to profile just 20 children, but they kept coming. They kept bringing their friends. There were so many of them. Chess liberates the mind, and
teaches a lot of things. It teaches focus, patience.
It’s a game of strategy. We are using all these things that the game teaches to get the attention of these children. We don’t just teach them chess,
we teach them new words to improve their vocabulary and
we also teach them mental maths. [Counting numbers] Chess makes me smart.
It makes me confident. It develops my skills in mathematics.
It develops my mind and it makes me face any challenges that come my way. I like chess because it makes
me smart and intelligent. Chess is a game of the mind.
Chess changes people’s lives.

9 thoughts on “Learning to play chess is turning these kids’ lives around – BBC Africa

  1. This is amazing! Sending positive vibes and prayers to this great initiative πŸ˜­πŸ™ŒπŸΎπŸ™πŸΎ

  2. I'm Professor-ENDJALA a street chess player from Namibia My favourite chess player is Alexander Alekhine and I'm here to approve this short film, I say keep up the good work ,this is really good ,let us continue to do the good work God will reward us 1day in heaven.

  3. The initiative currently as a Gofund me fundraiser going on now, you can donate via this link below.
    https://www.gofundme.com/f/help-support-chess-in-the-slums-in-nigeria

  4. Great Program, Great initiative, it should go larger and wider in other African countries like Cameroon for instance. And @bbcafrica should promote this by providing the links on how to contact Mr Babatunde Onakoya…

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