Priyanka Handa Ram, Founder
Learn To Play - Ithute Go Tshameka
Why did you create this innovation?
In Botswana, 93% of children under the age of 5 do not have access to Early Learning & fail to reach their potential in cognitive development. Poverty, poor health and nutrition, as well as the lack of early stimulation holds these children back. In 2017, Priyanka founded Learn To Play with the vision to ensure that access to high-quality early childhood education was a right and not a luxury.
How does your innovation work in practice?
Learn To Play is a social enterprise that provides high-impact, scalable & sustainable early childhood solutions for children aged 0-5 and uplifts women's economic opportunities to create Vibrant Villages.
We approach ECD at a child, caregiver & community level to provide holistic solutions for children. Our programme utilises an untapped resource as the key change-agent: Mothers. Mamapreneurs are trained to establish community playgroups & deliver parenting programmes, improving children’s education & development using natural & local materials. This means the resources & people-power are readily available & our model can be delivered, scaled & sustained at low-cost.
Through our unique model (a play & learn curriculum, our Rainbow Play training, & a specially-designed playgroup in a box), communities build the resources they need for sustainable ECD.
Our parenting support strengthens the confidence & competence of caregivers, developing positive wellbeing for the whole family.
How has it been spreading?
Since 2017, we've opened operations in 5 communities and we've seen how education & nurturing care are intrinsically linked. We've learnt how important a dedicated, child-centered play area is & how working in strong partnerships can do more for a community than any single organisation. We provide healthy snacks for each child in our playgroups and parenting programmes are being launched in all our communities to help build vibrant villages.
We've prioritised mindfulness & peace-building in all our programming - but particularly to support families and children in Dukwi, a refugee camp in northern Botswana.
We aim to increase our reach into new communities every year in Botswana and grow across Africa through partnerships.
If I want to try it, what should I do?
We thrive on partnerships and provide trainings on our unique approach to educators, schools and organisations across the globe. Learn To Play offers different play and learn products, courses and toolkits to demonstrate how scalable and easy-to-implement our approach is. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to play for impact in your community.
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