Disney’s Queen of Katwe movie tells the amazing story of Phiona Mutesi, a young girl from the slums of Katwe, Uganda, whose life is changed forever through discovering chess.
You may have watched the movie in a theater, on an airline flight or on DVD. If you haven’t, get the movie now.
It’s a suspenseful, accurate, and often humorous chess narrative, and a heart-warming, real-life story. From living on the streets to becoming chess champion in Uganda, then representing her country at the World Olympiad, and on to the red carpet of Hollywood, Phiona’s story is inspiring millions to never give up, to pursue dreams regardless of obstacles, and to persevere — as there is the seed of a champion in every person.
Now it’s June 2017. More than characters in a movie, Phiona, Benjamin, and Robert are real people on a worthy mission. And right now you can play a key role in their expanding purpose to “discover more hidden Champions like Phiona”.
Benjamin, Robert, and Phiona in Bellevue
Benjamin Mukumbya, Robert Katende & Phiona Mutesi in Bellevue, Washington.
Robert Katende started the Queen of Katwe project as a chess club to help kids in the slums of Katwe. Without him, these two young people would never have had the opportunities now before them.
Phiona in Katwe
Phiona recently graduated high school in Uganda.
No small feat for a young girl who was accustomed to searching for food. She lacked all resources for a basic education! Now that chess has changed her life beyond her own belief and imagination, her dream continues to grow. While Phiona still wants to achieve her dream of becoming a chess grandmaster, she wants to receive an education in social work, which will help her make as big an impact as possible in her own community and beyond — to those in similar circumstances worldwide — inspiring many other “Phiona stories.”
Phiona playing chess
Benjamin Mukumbya is the young boy in Queen of Katwe who was part of the same chess club.
Benjamin is a talented, aspiring chess player, who attended school with Phiona for several years and graduated high school at the same time as Phiona. With the movie launch, Benjamin also has a growing sphere of influence and big dreams. Besides aspiring to become a chess grandmaster and currently studying more than 8 hours a day, he has a dream of becoming a neuro-surgeon in order to bring these skills to help his community and region. As he knows all too personally there are many in Africa dying of brain tumors and other conditions that could be helped by neuro-surgeons. This is a skill that cannot be learned in Africa just yet. Benjamin understands the great privilege and unique opportunity of develop this skill abroad
For both Phiona and Benjamin, the next step is university.
Because they know what it’s like to struggle for survival, they are immensely grateful for the opportunity now in their lives to move from existence to impact.
In January of 2017, Robert, Phiona, and Benjamin visited Chess4Life in the Seattle region where Benjamin is currently staying for 6 months to pursue his chess training in order to move closer to the Master title.
Both Phiona and Benjamin received full-tuition scholarships to attend Northwest University in the Seattle area; however, while tuition has been fully covered, they do not have the means to cover expenses for room and board.
Phiona and Benjamin will be attending Northwest
This to this scholarship, Phiona and Benjamin intend to being classes in the Fall of 2017, yet they must find the support if they are to do so.
The amount they need to raise is a minimum of $16,500 per year for each of them. This amount will cover their living expenses plus the flight to come to university.
At Chess House, we are seeking to spread the word and find generous donors to step forward and become a hero in Phiona and Benjamin’s lives, helping make local as well as global positive community impact, as Phiona and Benjamin strive to inspire many more “Phiona stories.”
Would you or someone you know have the financial resources to help further the dreams of these young people as they seek to learn what is needed for them to make an even greater impact in many peoples’ lives?
Please share this story and consider immediately providing support in any amount here:

GoFundMe: Further Education for the Queen of Katwe