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International

Paddington Rotarians use the power of chess to cross international boundaries

Paddington Rotarians use the power of chess to cross international boundaries

The game of chess has created a bond between Paddington Rotary in London and a community on the Ivory Coast in West Africa.

The COVID-19 lockdown, provides challenges for us all.

Many of our “in person” chess classes were deemed non-essential. For all service minded individuals, personally and professionally, it was also a difficult Rotary year.

However, a ray of light shines brightly in the person of Mac Purcell from Paddington Rotary in London.

Last January, Mac indicated that he and member John Tra started a chess programme in the Ivory Coast.

Paddington Rotary supplied the programme with 10 chessboards and pieces, but they were looking for more support from the International Chess Fellowship of Rotarians and community.

Because my annual trip to Uganda did not happen in August 2020; we had 90 chessboards and pieces donated by the Rotary Eclub D9920 Francophone and the International Chess Fellowship of Rotarians just sitting in the garage.

You can imagine the joy, knowing there was a need we could meet.

But how do I get them to the West Africa, Ivory Coast?

The problem was solved by Mac who connected me with his member in Maryland, John Tra.

Paddington Rotary supplied the programme with 10 chessboards and pieces, but they were looking for more support from the International Chess Fellowship of Rotarians and community.”

John sent an me an email, saying he could receive those chess boards which were sent to Maryland and were then packaged to go to the Ivory Coast in support of Paddington Rotary’s Kweni Project.

These boards would not have been possible without the donations of Paddington Rotary, the Rotary E-club D9920 Francophone, the International Chess Fellowship of Rotarians. Thanks to all the many donors and helpers.

During these times of uncertainty it does give us all hope that we can continue to build relationships, and make things happen internationally.

Across languages and cultures, and perceived barriers this is a shining example of the power of Rotary.

There will be children in West Africa learning how to play chess, learning about service and love of others through the power of Rotary International service.

Through shared relationships, we were able to broker this deal because Mac Purcell out of London, saw the ‘Winning Gambit’ article posted on Facebook and acted.

May the International Chess Fellowship of Rotarians continue looking for more opportunities to support chess in 2021.