About

The Play & Learn Foundation brings together boys and girls who have a passion for play, a drive to lead, and a desire to pursue academic and professional excellence.

By targeting underserved communities, PAL seeks to provide opportunity where it is most needed. Play & Learn engages youth in programming that encompasses football and sport training, academic support, mentorship, and community outreach. We do this by providing access to fun, safe, equipped spaces that are supported by committed tutors, coaches and mentors. Play & Learn works to empower our participants to pursue their passions and achieve their full potential.

History

Founder and Executive Director Nana Kwesi Ohene conceived the idea for a combined academic and football programme in 2013, during his time as an MBA (Marketing) candidate at the University of Ghana Business School. A lifelong football fan and experienced coach, Mr. Ohene committed much of his down time as a graduate student to coaching, managing, and organizing a variety of football initiatives at the University's Ajax Park. During training sessions, Mr. Ohene began to develop relationships with the many children who would come to watch. Eventually, the children were permitted to train with the Girl's International Student football team. Over time, it became clear that these kids had a strong desire to play and came from communities where resources and opportunities were lacking (such as Okpongolo, Shiashie, Bawlashie and Madina). Many of these children come from homes that relied on their contribution to family income and in which they were the first to receive a basic education.

After identifying a series of needs, in addition to a safe and fun space to play, Mr. Ohene and a group of dedicated supporters began to conceptualize what would, in 2015, become the Play & Learn Foundation. In its earliest stages, informal activities were held and covered a diverse range of lessons, from homework help to creative writing, time management to tolerance. Activities and lessons have since been formalized in order to maximize the benefits to the youth through more structured programming. Academic sessions focus on literacy and comprehension, while football training includes the nurturing of soft skills such as teamwork and discipline. Mentorship sessions focus on topics such as problem solving and goal setting, while community outreach activities teach tolerance and respect.

5 Years of Impact and Changing the Odds

After five years of establishing the Play and Learn Foundation (PAL), PAL has undertaken projects, collaborated with other similar organizations, partnered and supported activities that align with the organization's aims and objectives. Our programs focus on educational support, football for soft skill development, community outreach, and projects  to develop both the hard and soft skills our youth need to become leaders in their communities.

Education

  • COMMUNITY TUTORING 
    • Over 250 children have benefited from our one-on-one community tutoring sessions 

 

  • READING, STORYTELLING and CREATIVE WRITING CLINICS
    • PAL has held 5 of such initiatives in Ada, Shukura, Okponglo and La Bawaleshie, reaching over 300 children

 

  • BOOK DONATIONS
    • We have donated 100 books to the La Bawaleshie Basic School, increasing access to quality reading materials for all students at the school

 

  • SCHOLARSHIPS AND FINANCIAL SUPPORT
    • PAL currently provides full financial support for the education-related expenses of 5 children 
    • Over 200 children have received specific donations related to school finance

 

Football

  • PAL FOOTBALL CLINIC
    • Over 300 children from Okponglo, Madina, Shiashie, Dzorwulu and La Bawaleshie have gone through the football academy for soft skills and character development

    • Formed an all-girls football team consisting of 25 members

 

  • CLEAT AND FOOTBALL DONATION
    • Donated 50 cleats and 5 footballs to the children that live in the Kewunor community, Ada

Community Outreach

  • COVID-19 RELIEF INITIATIVE
    • Over 5000$ raised to provide financial relief to families impacted by the pandemic
    • 61 families received 500gh cedis (~85USD$) over 3 months for necessities during the lockdown
  • Merry Kidsmas Party
    • Over 600 children have benefited from this project in the last two years, benefiting from general health screening, Christmas gifts, food items, and wonderful memories.
  • Health Care
    • Annual 'Walk it Out' mental health awareness march reaches hundreds of participants in Legon; sensitizes the public to the issue of mental health within the community
    • Over 200 children and adults benefited from the national health insurance registration event in 2019
    • Annual Street Love Project has fed 1500 people experiencing homelessness since inception

Girl Empowerment

  • GIRL EMPOWERMENT PROJECTS

    • Formation of the PAL all-girl football team consisting of 25 girls

    • Formation of an all Girls Dance Academy “Yes, She can Walk” - an event focused on Girl Power had 250 participants

    • Yaa Asantewaa Girl empowerment project which consists of 15 girls who are being mentored for 6 months

    • PAL Big Sister Program where 15 Girls from the University of Ghana mentor 15 younger girls from Okpongolo community

Global Reach

  • VOLUNTEER
    •  Over 450 volunteers from 2015 to date
    • 100 Ambassadors present in Sweden, Finland, USA, England, Canada, and Norway

 

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