According to UNICEF, one in every five of the world’s out-of-school children is in Nigeria and over 80 million Nigerians live in extreme poverty. A quick visit to certain slums in Ikorodu, Ajegunle, Mushin, Ajah, communities like Makoko, Mafoluku Olowolagba, Majidun, and many more areas in Lagos, and you’ll see barefooted children running around in their panties, shrieking excitedly as they welcome you in anticipation of whatever goodies you might have brought with you.
For many people, poverty is abstract; but for others, it is different; they sleep at night thinking of how to change the lives of children living in slums and they wake up each morning, taking steps to ensure that these children have a chance at life.
Ayotunde Onakoya is one of such people. Tunde grew up in the Isale Odo community in Ikorodu, and like many kids living in slums, he didn’t have access to a lot of things. By the time he finished his primary school, his family was too poor to send him to a secondary school, so he stayed at home for 2 years while his mum worked as a cleaner at Yintab College in Agric, Ikorodu, to save up some money for his education.
Tunde is now a graduate and the big question comes: what do I do with my life?
One day, he went to visit someone in the Majidun community and saw a lot of children in slums, many of whom were not attending schools. Chess had given Tunde a lot of life-changing opportunities, and he wanted to do the same for these children he saw in Majidun.
Tunde knew he had found his calling, and his path was clear: find more children and enable them through the game of chess.
On the 1st of September, 2018, ChessinSlumsAfrica was (officially) born.
Chess teaches children to think for themselves. It educates their minds and inspires the love of learning in them. Chess in Slums uses the game of chess as a medium to give educational opportunities to children who have no access to education or are too poor to get one. .
So far, Tunde and his team have done well. There are over 200 kids who are being taught how to play chess and about 20 children on full scholarship in and out of the country – one of them is Odunayo Williams, national under 10 female chess champion in Nigeria.
Today, ChessinSlums is beyond Majidun, it has extended to Mafoluku community in Oshodi and in Makoko where a child, Ferdinand, with Cerebral Palsy won a chess tournament. Tunde Onakoya is changing the lives of children, one chess piece at a time.