The Chess Federation of Lesotho (CFL) through Lesotho National Olympic Committee (LNOC) donated chess sets equipment to different social groups in an effort to develop the chess sport in Lesotho.
Speaking at the handover event held in Maseru earlier this week, LNOC President TÅ¡eliso Motloheloa indicated that the donation had been made possible after a request for funding had been extended by CFL to the World Chess Federation (WCF) in respect of new chess programs in June 2021. He said that the request had thankfully been positively received hence the M77 100.10 disbursement was received in October 2021.
â€œWe are here to bear witness to the handover of the chess equipment to different social groups being women as we have noticed that their participation in chess is still low so we wanted to increase womenâ€™s interest in chess. So we requested to work with schools for girls as a way to develop chess programmes.
â€œThe second group is people with disabilities as we have realised that they should also be involved, participate in learning and playing chess. We know that some of these people do not have busy lives so they can be rehabilitated into the programme as way to show them that they are no different from other people hence the WCF also started chess games for people with disabilities,â€ said Motloheloa.
He said further indicated that another social group to receive the funds was prisoners of the Lesotho Correctional Services as they need rehabilitation and have a lot of time on their hands to learn and play chess, adding that by playing chess, the prisoners will less likely participate in activities that could render them being involved in criminal activity again because chess games teach players how to be responsible for their moves which results in their actions.
He further said that they are going to work with the correctional officers to ensure that they receive the training necessary to facilitate their passing on the skills to the inmates. And he mentioned that some of the correctional officers are already members of the CFL which will make it easier for the programme.
â€œOur plan is to give training support from the beginning of next year to these social groups by assigning coaches who will facilitate the needed training. We learned that CFL needs a development plan to produce masters as well as grandmasters of chess in Lesotho and internationally within the next five years,â€ Motloheloa said.
Meanwhile, CFL has identified four high schools for girls in Lesotho in the Lowlands as well as the Highlands to be recipients of the chess equipment and the coaches on weekly basis. The coaches will be given monthly stipend and there will be follow-ups on the facilitation, training and coaching progress.
The beneficiary schools for the chess equipment are St. Catherines High School, St. Maryâ€™s High School, Morija Girls High School and Holy Family High School, each of which will receive 10 chess boards and one demonstration board for the instructor each.
â€œCFL also decided to give St. Bernedette Resource Center for the Blind and St. Catherines School for Blind two brailled chess sets and one demonstration board each. Itjareng Vocational School for People with Disability and Kananelo Center for the Deaf will receive 10 chess boards and 1 demonstration board each,â€ Morienyane said.
Morienyane added that, starting from next year these selected schools and centers for people with disabilities will receive special training for the coaches. Also, CFL decided that chess for prison should be given 20 chess boards and 2 demonstration boards to the LCS so that it can distribute amongst the prisons in Lesotho.