American missionary teaching chess at Tingathe Youth Centre: To help them develop critical thinking skills

American missionary from Florida, Albert Ferguson, has helped a vocationàl training institution, Tingathe Youth Centre in Lilongwe’s peri-urban area of Mtandile by adding chess as an extracurricular activities to help them develop critical thinking skills.

Chinthere: Chessam publicist

Mtandile chess club

The Centre’s staffer Peter Chimuka said Ferguson spends nearly 10 hours per week teaching chess at Tingathe Centre, an organisation that partners with youth of 18 to 30 years old living across Mtandile and surrounding community who are either school dropouts or have completed their MSCE but have not secured jobs.

Chimuka explained that they impart the youths with knowledge by training them in technical and vocational skills that are marketable in the current environment and at the end of their courses, the centre offers them loans to start  business and  mentorship program.

“The goal is to change these peri-urban communities by creating worth that sticks through the youths that we have trained.”

Chimuka said the courses are being taught by volunteers and that when Ferguson joined them as a volunteer he saw it fit to add chess as an extracurricular activities.

“He is also working with Malawi prisons and he saw that most youths are troubled and as a result they make wrong choices. So chess is one game that helps these youths to think just as it helped him at his younger age.

“He introduced chess to Tingathe and him and I worked together to put up a group of 10 students in which two of them are girls.”

Chimuka said he was told by Ferguson that chess kept him from getting into trouble as a teenager and he enjoys teaching the game to youngsters to help them develop their critical thinking skills.

He said with the help of Chess Associatian of Malawi (Chessam) publicity secretary, Alfred Chinthere, they held their first tournament in September and it was a huge success.

It’s first champion was 22-year-old Dalitso Mwale after outwitting Malachi Masina in a pulsating queen endgame and she grabbed a gold medal and a chessboard.

His runner-up Masina received a silver medal and a chessboard. Gerald James and Yasmin Nalumo shared third and they went away with a bronze medal and a chessboard apiece.

Chinthere, on behalf of Chessam president Susan Namangale,  applauded Tingathe and Ferguson’s initiative in mobilising marginalised chess players and pledged the association’s unflinching support.

“The tournaments will continue and we are hoping to have another one in October or November. Albert did everything starting with buying the chess boards to chess prizes but he has been in contact with the chess president, Susan Namangale, who predged to help the club.

“And on the tournament day, we had a visit by the chess publicity secretary Chinthere who presented two chess boards to Tingathe as part of prizes on behalf of Namangale.

Tingathe, Chichewa word for ‘We can’, was founded in 2016 by Malawian Sarah Lindeire and it has engaged over 160 youths between the ages of 18 and 30 and it engages with 20 community chiefs to bring more as a way of community development.

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