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 and programs to develop both the hard and soft skills our youth need to become leaders in their communities.
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.