Chess will be the weapon of choice as King’s Delta Academy International (KDAI), a private student tutoring service provider and Mobile Chess Academy and the Botswana Substance Abuse Support Network (BOSASNet) partner to fight substance abuse.
The initiative, which will see local players battle it out on the chessboard to raise awareness against substance abuse among youngsters and adults, is the brainchild of KDAI founder Gosiame Selebatso.
“Upon the realization that one of our clients, a form 3 student in Gaborone had been a marijuana addict since form 1, we silently brought the issue to his teachers, only to find that 34 other students from his school had come forth to the Guidance and Counseling department as they were now suffering from withdrawal symptoms,” Selebatso explained.
Digging deeper, the KDAI founder said they then came to know that schools did not have the resources and the manpower to deal with the scourge of substance abuse, and many other students ‘had not had the courage to seek help.’
Following this realization, Selebatso said a decision was then taken, and with the help of BOSASNet and Mobile Chess Academy, a plan was put in motion to organize a two day chess tournament to raise awareness and support learners from nine years old upwards who are affected by substance abuse.
“We hope that through the tournament, we can establish an alliance, the support network with like minded businesses to enable us to host the tournament every school term (3 times a year) and use the proceeds to finance rehabilitation programs. Botswana is unfortunately insufficiently equipped to help affected learners and most organisations need the financial support,” Selebatso said.
He added that during the tournament, BOSASNet will have an opportunity to teach participants and spectators about the dangers of substance abuse.
“BOSASNET will have the opportunity to address participants and spectators during the event, with presentations during breaks and the award ceremony. We also intend to support learners affected by drugs and to raise awareness on prevention and treatment procedures offered to substance abusers or addicts in institutions,” he explained.
Selebatso said the event is a step towards achieving Vision 2036 and beyond goals and will be an annual event.
The categories are Under 10, Under 12, Under 14, Under 18 and the Open section.
The decision to start with the under 10 age category, according to Selebatso, came as the organizers ‘noticed that it’s the age that most of the addicted learners started to use the substances.’
The tournament, which will be played under the theme; ‘Substance Abuse Support Network, We Lead, We Inspire,’ is slated for the University of Botswana Staff Lounge from the 23rd to the 24th of this month (September).