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Grooming Lagos Youths in a Game of Strategy

A dozen children crowd around plastic tables in the Majidun 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. The waterside shanty town is just across the lagoon from the mansions and towering office blocks of Nigeria’s commercial capital. They hope the cunning and strategy they learn on the chess board will help them make the leap out of their homes in the slum. Babatunde Onakoya, 26, founded Chess in Slums Africa in 2018. Chess aided his rise from his own deprived childhood in Lagos. Onakoya said he was driven by a conviction that Nigerian education is in crisis, with many children either out of school or not learning what he sees as useful survival skills. He now spends his free time plying crowded alleyways, tinged with the smell of burning trash and generator fuel, in the hope that teaching kids chess can build a better future for all of Nigeria.

SOURCE: REUTERS AFRICA

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