I got interviewed by the Norwegian radio channel NRK P1 about the voluntary work I do with the local chess club for refugees. Two of the best chess players in Norway initiated the project in early 2016 and since then I and others have been helping this great initiative keep running. The project is an example of how we can help refugees integrate and develop independently of what language they are speaking when they live in emergency asylum reception centres. The key to success with such activities is the ability to set aside your own personal political beliefs in order to see the human beings and their needs.
Playing chess is a great way for refugees to meet new people, to speak Norwegian with locals and maybe the most important, to get out from the asylum centres where life can be depressing. Getting out and meeting local Norwegians and participating in the society has led many of our participants to get work, find housing and get new friends and contacts.
Since the startup, we got visit from several masters from the Norwegian chess community and even the mayor of Oslo. A local newspaper later reported the event, with the following picture of me sitting next to the mayor.
Here is the interview with NRK in a shortened version, in Norwegian.
Chess is a kind of sport that can rapidly boost the self confidence of anyone who learn to play the game. Being able to learn and master new techniques, has a very positive effect on the refugees and their belief in themselves. When people in power use their resources to build bridges and initiate local and national projects such as our small chess club, amazing things can happen.