The Tanzania Times
Eastern Africa News Network

Arusha spearheads Chess Games for Autistic Children

Children with autism in Tanzania can now get fully involved in brainy sporting activities such as Chess.

Iyanna Foundation is launching special Chess programs for slow learning youngsters starting from Arusha and later to extend elsewhere in the country.

Prisca Ephata Lema is the Director of Iyanna Foundation who points out that there are so far over 15 countries worldwide that are conducting special Chess Games for people with autism.

“In Tanzania, we are working in conjunction with the Norway Chess Federation to roll out the program,” she said, adding that children with autism have been proved to be capable of handling chess puzzles and moves.

“Children with autism however require more time to be trained and that their classes must have fewer pupils, not exceeding four in a room,” explained Lema, adding that such youth are usually geniuses in disguise only needing special and close attention.

Iyanna Foundation recently organized the Inter-School Chess Competition in Arusha which involved 98 participants from a total of ten schools in the city, the event pitted public, private and international schools.

On the other hand, the organization is boasting to have reached out to 250 children, in more than eight public schools impacting them with chess gaming skills, within the 16 days of the campaign against gender and children based violence.

Prisca said Chess is usually regarded as a game for the affluent but her organization was out to dispel the misconception though introducing it to all members of the public.

The Arusha City Director Juma Hamsini who graced the occasion said his office will set aside a special budget to support Chess activities in the urban precinct as the game has proved to be a perfect sporting activity which also boosts intelligence among children.

“Chess can be played on physical boards, on desktop and laptop computers as well as on digital tablets and smartphones, which means wherever one happens to be, the game can always be played even virtually,” stated the City Director.

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