From the despair of a slum to the World Chess Olympiad in Russia – Phiona searches for answers and a better life.
Editor’s note: This film is no longer available online.
Filmmaker: Gert Corba
Those who are born in the hopeless slums of Kampala start with a setback in life, and being born a girl doubles this setback.
“There are times when I miss my father. I wish my father was still alive.
My mother never speaks of him. when I ask her what he died of, she always says : ‘Ask those who were there’.“
In Kibuli, a slum community of single mothers and neglected children, the youth learn to survive the hard way.
But mostly they learn from a young age to accept their miserable situation.
This also applies to Phiona,14, who lives with her chronically-ill mother in a shack with walls made of corrugated iron.
But when a social worker teaches the poor girl how to play chess, her slum life takes an amazing turn.
Phiona appears to be extremely talented and in no time she becomes the national chess youth champion of Uganda, and goes on to win the African Youth Championship in Sudan.
Her victory march then takes her to the World Chess Youth Championship in freezing cold Siberia, in the heart of Russia.
Will she be able to survive in this new world full of competition? What can Phiona’s new status mean to her mother in their dwelling in Kibuli? And finally, who can give her answers about how and why her father died?