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.