Tunde Onakoya: All you need to know about the Inspiring Chess king

Tunde Onakoya
Collage of Tunde Onakoya and his students

Today we’ll be talking about Tunde Onakoya.

Tunde Onakoya is one man who has changed the narrative for young poverty-stricken kids. This incredible youngster has attracted the love of people both at home and abroad. All of this attraction came as a result of his kind act. Tunde Onakoya went out of his way to give young Nigeria street kids by teaching them chess. As a chess pro himself, he has been able to successfully chess tens of young children and elevates their lives. Tunde Onakoya has organised competitions for ghetto urchins, and he has placed a few kids under his care.

Without further ado, let’s stop scratching the surface. In this blog post, we will discuss;

  • How it all started for Tunde Onakoya
  • How Tunde is elevating the lives of kids
  • The blessings Tunde has attracted
  • Tunde’s plans for the future

Chapter 1: Early Years and Background

Tunde Onakoya spent his early years in Ketu, Lagos, after which he moved to Isale Odo, Ikorodu, Lagos, with his parents. In his early years, his mom was a trader at the famous Eko market while his dad sold vehicle spare parts. Shortly after, they moved to a slum area in Ikorodu. At Ikorodu, his father had a vehicle that was leased to drivers for a steady return. Not long after, the vehicle got faulty, and his father could not generate any income. These scenarios affected his education, as he had to stop schooling. 

At home, he usually goes to play video games at a barber’s shop in his hood. One fateful day, he went, and he saw some guys playing chess, and he asked them to teach him, but they refused. Since the game attracted him, he resorted to learning by watching. After a while, he got back to school. How? His mom had to work for the school, and her salary was used for his school fees. She resigned after he finished his SS3. Fortunately for him, the school he attended was big on chess. They took chess classes, chess exams and went to competitions. Since he was interested in the game, he became good at it.

After secondary school, he wanted to get into a university. All efforts to gain admission was futile. However, luck shined on him. His mother’s friend shared the Yaba College of Technology form with her, and she gave it to him. However, he didn’t want to attend a polytechnic, but he had no better alternative, so he filled out the form. At the end of the day, he applied and got admission. 

After becoming a student of Yabatech, he joined the Chess club. He became part of the college team and represented in polytechnic games. The more he went out for competitions and tournaments, and he won medals. In doing this, he honed his chess skills and made money.

Chapter 2: The Chess Project

After graduating from Yabatech, he struggled to make ends meet, as he no longer participated in competitions. So, Tunde Onakoya settled for teaching. While teaching, he was earning a meagre salary of N6,000. Things became rough, and he had to sleep on the school premises. He resigned from teaching after three months, and he hoped to play musical instruments for churches. It was in doing this that he decided to become a chess coach. 

Tunde Onakoya: All you need to know about the Inspiring Chess king
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He decided to offer his chess training to schools around. Although he felt fulfilled teaching kids chess, he didn’t earn much. Shortly, a church project sent him to Lugun, Majidun. Majidun was a slum community with many disheartening scenes and encounters. Due to what he saw at Lungu, he researched slum communities and their development. He felt he should pass on the knowledge, skills and abilities he has learnt from chess to these kids. That’s how Tunde Onakoya birthed the chess in Slums initiative.

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Teaching these kids chess was not an easy task as Tunde was himself broke, and many of the children didn’t understand English. So, they taught them how to communicate and play the games. As a way to sustain the project, Tunde Onakoya took to social media to seek funding. People started volunteering and supporting the cause. Shortly after, Tunde Onakoya expanded the outreach to other slum communities. He has trained kids and organised chess competitions in Makoko and Oshodi. Currently, he has three boys under his direct care, and he has over 50 children under his non-profit.

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Chapter 3: Recognition and Collaboration

Over the years, the works of Tunde Onakoya have spread like wildfire. From 2020 till date, he has gained significant recognition from local and international persons and organisations. Since 2020, he has partnered with tens of brands and received funding and sponsorship from different sources worldwide. The young man has also been featured on various media platforms. From blogs to vlogs, from radio to TV, and from news media to podcasts. The great work he’s doing has gained massive publicity.

Tunde Onakoya’s non-profit organisation has partnered and collaborated with a handful of recognised chess organisations too. Chess in slums is in partnership with organisations like International Chess Federation, FTF Ghana, Chess Kids, Impact Coaching Network NYC and chess.com

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The pioneer of Chess in slums has worked with many top individuals in the chess world. He has worked directly with  Aaron Thompson, who is the captain of UC Merced chess club, California, and also the director of outreach for chess in slums. Agadmator, the most prominent chess YouTuber with over 1million subscribers, became a global ambassador for Chess in Slums. He has also collaborated with notable persons like David Ladha, Shivam and Ben Johnson. Many of these meaningful collaborations have also helped grow the reach of Chess in Slums across the globe.

Apart from chess partnerships, he has also gained partnerships from notable brands and personalities. Chess in slums is working with Chipper cash, Canadian High Commission, techpointNG, Lazerpay, Medplus Pharmacy, RiseVest and crevatal. He was also interviewed by Ebuka of BBN and also received attention from tayoainafilms. As a plus, he has been interviewed on many media channels. From BBC to Guardian Nigeria and channels TV.

Tunde Onakoya has also raised a jaw-dropping amount of money. He would be financing the chess in slums initiative through this fundraising. In 2020, a gofundme page was set up. Over time the goal of this page has been continuously smashed that it kept getting reset. Currently, Chess in slums has recorded over $100,000 on their gofundme page, and the next target is $1million.

Tunde Onakoya: All you need to know about the Inspiring Chess king
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Aside from the gofund me page, funds are received in a GTBank savings account and via crypto. As of January 2022, the GTbank account is worth over 20million naira. Celebrities like Paris Hilton, Fireboy DML, amongst others, have made significant contributions. You should also know that their payments are supported by chippercash and Lazerpay.

Chapter 4: The Future For Chess in Slums

Tunde Onakoya has crafted a fine path to better the lives of street kids and help secure them a future. In the past, he has organised chess competitions in Makoko and Oshodi, and he has awarded the participants and winners. Tunde Onakoya is helping these kids get back in school and live a better life. While this is crucial, he also declared other plans for the non-profit organisation.

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He is currently working on building the biggest chess academy in the world. With this academy, urchins and poor kids can learn, participate, and have a home. Involving these kids means helping them hone their critical thinking skills and prepare for the future of work.

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Tunde Onakoya is also creating new ways to raise funding for the organisation. One of these ways is the sales of the Chess in slums signature hat. This yoruba hat was first used at the chess tournament Tunde organised. However, people who want to support the brand can get the hat. 

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Some images capturing the chess in slums story are made into NFTs, minted, and listed. This strategy is essential for scaling the non-profit. As a plus, chess in slums own a .eth DNS domain and also a web2 regular website. Their regular website was launched in February 2022.

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Since 2020, Tunde Onakoya has emphasised how chess is a strategy that can be incorporated into the business world. He has also taught some of these strategies with his tweets. In addition, Tunde has explained how he intends to teach the kids future work skills and sharpen their maths abilities.

Chapter 5: The Wrap

You have just read an overview of the popular Tunde Onakoya. We have given an account of how it started, progress it has made, and what the future holds. You know by now that Tunde Onakoya started roughly but has scaled up his project. Tunde Onakoya and chess in slums have received tremendous growth in the past year.

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