Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - LIFE -

WHILE our play­ers are in Uganda comes the news that Dis­ney is tak­ing chess to the sil­ver screen.

Al Jazeera re­ports that “From liv­ing in the streets in the slums of Katwe to learn­ing chess in a Sports Outreach In­sti­tute mis­sion­ary pro­gramme to be­com­ing one of her na­tion’s top chess play­ers com­pet­ing in in­ter­na­tional com­pe­ti­tions, Phiona Mutesi has come a long way.” The sub­ject of dozens of me­dia sto­ries and a book, The Queen of Katwe, Phiona is an in­spi­ra­tion to mil­lions, and es­pe­cially to girls in a na­tion where girls are par­tic­u­larly marginalised.“Phiona’s goal is to be­come a pae­di­a­tri­cian. Phiona and her broth­ers plan to go back to Katwe after they fin­ish school to build a home to pro­vide shel­ter, clinic care and ed­u­ca­tion for the slum chil­dren.

“Phiona en­joys her science classes the most and plays chess after school. She has a real pas­sion for teach­ing the chil­dren chess and a spe­cial bur­den for the young girls.

“In 2013 Phiona was in­vited to the Women of the World Sum­mit in New York City. The pur­pose of the sum­mit was to highlight women who have made pos­i­tive changes in var­i­ous areas of life.

“Phiona was in­vited to share how she had over­come so many ob­sta­cles to achieve her in­ter­na­tional level as a chess player.

Ev­ery year the sum­mit hon­ours a se­lect few of the women as Women of Im­pact, Phiona was one of the three for 2013. She was awarded a $25 000 grant to be used to help pro­mote chess and ed­u­ca­tion among im­pov­er­ished girls in Uganda.

“To date, Phiona has been faith­ful in us­ing the funds to speak at con­fer­ences, or­gan­i­sa­tions and churches. She also hosted the first ever girls-only chess clinic in Uganda – and hop­ing to have at least 50 girls at­tend, over 400 girls showed up to the two day clinic.

“Phiona the en­listed help from other fe­male chess play­ers and lead­ers from the com­mu­nity to help run the clinic.

“Phiona has at­tended and helped sup­port chess tour­na­ments and clin­ics in other slums and the war rav­aged re­gions in Uganda.

“Re­cently, Phiona was recog­nised as the most in­flu­en­tial ath­lete in Uganda dur­ing the ‘Queen’s Ba­ton Re­lay’ for the Com­mon­wealth Games, where only one ath­lete from each coun­try is selected.”

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