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.
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.
Five Years of Impact and Changing the Odds
Five years after its founding, the Play and Learn Foundation (PAL) has undertaken projects, collaborated with other similar organizations, 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 and programs to develop both the hard and soft skills our youth need to become leaders in their communities. These programs have grown, both in terms of numbers and in scope, since our foundation, and they will continue to do so!
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 which reached and impacted over 300 children.
We have donated 100 books to the La Bawaleshie Basic School.
Scholarship and financial support:
There are currently 5 children under full support and over 200 children have received specific donations related to school finance.
250 students from Okponglo (50) and La Bawaleshie (200) go through critical thinking, comprehension and reading drills with volunteers on a weekly basis.
A total of 450 volunteers from 2015 to date.
100 Ambassadors present in Sweden, Finland, USA,England, Canada and Norway.
Over 300 children from Okponglo, Madina, Shiashie, Dzorwulu and La Bawaleshie have gone through the football academy for soft skills and character development.
Cleat and Football Donations :
Donated 50 cleats and 5 footballs to the children that live in the Kewunor community, Ada.
Girl Empowerment Projects:
Formation of the PAL all girls 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.
General health and eye screening for over 400 kids in December 2018.
Mental health talk with over 100 students from the University of Ghana.
Over 200 children and adults benefited from the national health insurance registration and renewal project in September 2019.
Merry Kidsmas Party
This project has delivered general healthcare screenings, Christmas gifts, fun, and food to over 600 children in the past 2 years
The Play & Learn Foundation works to empower Ghanaian youth through a combination of academics, athletics, mentorship, and community contribution to develop the skills needed to become leaders in their local and global communities.