8-Year-Old Chess Champion Who Was Living in Shelter Is No Longer Homeless
A homeless 8-year-old Nigerian refugee who recently won the New York State chess championship now has a place to live thanks to thousands of people who raised money to help him and his family.
According to the New York Times, Tanitoluwa Adewumi and his family left Nigeria in 2017 when they feared they would become the target of Boko Haram terrorists. Tani, his older brother and his parents obtained asylum in New York City, where they have since lived in a Manhattan homeless shelter — and it is during their time there that Tani learned to play chess, which turned into a passion that would eventually lead to him making headlines across the country.
In just a little more than a year since first learning the game, earned first place at the 52nd New York State Scholastic Championships tournament for kindergarten to third-grade players in March. The elementary school student went undefeated throughout the tournament, which featured players from elite private schools with private chess tutors, the Times reported.
Tani’s impressive accomplishment even got the attention of former president Bill Clinton, who invited him to his offices in Harlem.
“Tanitoluwa, you exemplify a winning spirit – in chess and in life,” Clinton wrote on Twitter. “And kudos to your hardworking parents.”
Clinton wasn’t the only person moved by the young boy’s story, as a GoFundMe set up to help Tani’s family raised more than $246,000 from 4,795 donors in just 10 days.
And now, the Times reported this week, the family finally has a place to call their own.
“I think I am still dreaming,” said Tani’s dad, Kayode Adewumi, told the newspaper in a follow-up story. “I hope I don’t wake up.”
“I have a home!” Tani shouted. “I have a home!”
Not only that, but the family isn’t going to use the hundreds of thousands of dollars just for themselves. Instead, they are going to donate 10 percent of it to their church, who helped them when they needed it most, and will use the rest to help other African immigrants who are having difficulty settling in the United States.
“Anybody who is coming from Africa who is in the position we were in,” Adewumi explained. “We will help them.”
The family will distribute the funds through their new Tanitoluwa Adewumi Foundation.
“The U.S. is a dream country,” he previously said. “Thank God I live in the greatest city in the world, which is New York, New York.”