“I find power in the potential to impact communities through play; there’s magic when working with children in the African outdoors. This is my Botswana, these are our people and they are my why.” 

Priyanka Handa Ram

Are YOU the missing piece of our puzzle?

The secret sauce to our success is certainly our communities! We can’t exist without partnerships, supporters like you, and communities who trust us. Local government, village leadership, partner organisations and donors are integral to our work.

Together we are transforming how our communities educate, protect and care for young children.

TRAINED

40 Mamapreneurs

UPLIFTED

728 Children

PROVIDED

126 COVID19 Play Packs

IMPACTED

6 Communities

Learn More about how YOU can be the changemaker and transform lives by uplifting communities through the power of play to build a brighter Botswana.

2017

Let’s start from the beginning… In 2017, Priyanka founded Learn to Play with the vision to ensure that access to high-quality early childhood development was a right and not a luxury. At the time, Priyanka was a mother to a three-year-old and expecting a second child whilst also being the director of REWA Little Einsteins, a nursery school. However, during her travels around Botswana, she noticed the lack of early learning opportunities for children and felt the urgent need, both as an educator and a mother, to extend her reach beyond REWA to transform the lives of children.

February 2019

Africa Play conference: Iinvited to present at the inaugural Africa Play Conference, the first of its kind for the Early Childhood Development (ECD) industry. Hosted by UNICEF South Africa and the LEGO Foundation, the conference brought together 400 thought leaders, educators, researchers and policy makers from across Africa to discuss the future of ECD.

October 2019

Teacher Training in Malawi: Love Support Unite (LSU) invited Learn To Play to Malawi to train teachers on our model and Rainbow Play Approach. LSU trains early childhood educators so they in turn can provide support to children in their communities thus ensuring sustainable ECD opportunities. Eighty teachers across Malawi are now using our Rainbow Play Approach to lay the foundation for children's brighter futures.

Our Nation Our Pride

Less than 7% of children under the age of five in Botswana have access to early learning opportunities. Most, if not all services, are at a cost to families. As a result, young children - particularly those most vulnerable - are not benefitting from effective pre-primary interventions. You can help to bring more play and nurturing care into the lives of children across our country by giving them access to our playgroups and parenting programmes.

2017

Let’s start from the beginning… In 2017, Priyanka founded Learn to Play with the vision to ensure that access to high-quality early childhood development was a right and not a luxury. At the time, Priyanka was a mother to a three-year-old and expecting a second child whilst also being the director of REWA Little Einsteins, a nursery school. However, during her travels around Botswana, she noticed the lack of early learning opportunities for children and felt the urgent need, both as an educator and a mother, to extend her reach beyond REWA to transform the lives of children.

HundrED Global Collection 2021

Learn To Play was chosen amongst the 100 leading innovations and scalable solutions to education 2021. HundrED seeks to help pedagogically sound and ambitious innovations spread and adapt to multiple contexts across the world. This network will allow Learn To Play to capitalise on a wealth of knowledge and resources to deepen our impact and further our ambition to uplift communities through play. (can hyperlink to HundrED here: https://hundred.org/en/innovations/learn-to-play#24d2e5d0)

February 2019

Africa Play conference: Iinvited to present at the inaugural Africa Play Conference, the first of its kind for the Early Childhood Development (ECD) industry. Hosted by UNICEF South Africa and the LEGO Foundation, the conference brought together 400 thought leaders, educators, researchers and policy makers from across Africa to discuss the future of ECD.

The Next chapter – Social Enterprise

Transitioning into a social enterprise by combining REWA Little Einsteins and Learn to Play to capitalise on our experience to effect change. By doing so, we are harnessing paid early learning to fund free early learning. We are excited to have taken this step towards scaling our impact and building a more sustainable organisation.

October 2019

Teacher Training in Malawi: Love Support Unite (LSU) invited Learn To Play to Malawi to train teachers on our model and Rainbow Play Approach. LSU trains early childhood educators so they in turn can provide support to children in their communities thus ensuring sustainable ECD opportunities. Eighty teachers across Malawi are now using our Rainbow Play Approach to lay the foundation for children's brighter futures.

Our Nation Our Pride

The Government of Botswana acknowledges the importance of early childhood education and acted by introducing a year of reception in all public schools. However, less than 7% of children under the age of five in Botswana have access to early learning opportunities. Most, if not all services, are at a cost to families. As a result, young children - particularly those most vulnerable - are not benefitting from effective pre-primary interventions. You can help to bring more play and nurturing care into the lives of children across our country by giving them access to our playgroups and parenting programmes.

Our Team

Our Team

Priyanka Handa Ram

Founder &
Director 
+Meet Priyanka
I’m Priyanka, Founder of Learn To Play. I founded Learn To Play because I want every child to access their right to quality early childhood education. I’m excited everyday to harness my expertise and experience in early childhood development and play to bring communities together.

 

When I was little, I loved exploring on my bike and reading… I was always on some kind of adventure – whether outdoors in real life or in my imagination.

 

I love Botswana because our country prioritises communities and conservation – two of my most important values. We have nearly 40% of our country safeguarded as ‘Protected Land’ which means there’s an abundance of pristine wilderness (and lots of elephants!) for even more adventures.

Pratisha Narula

Community
Education Officer
+Meet Pratisha
I’m Pratisha Narula, the Community Education Officer at Learn To Play. For me, it’s not just a job, it is my passion for helping communities come together in one spirit and nurturing it with love and support. With my background as a sleep consultant and counselor, I’m here because I believe every child and their family deserves to feel strong and confident. I want to see them transform their lives through play and early childhood education.

 

When I was young, I loved fantasy play and pretending to be a mum to my younger sibling and cousins. I loved taking care of them and teaching them through play. I also enjoyed a lot of messy play.

 

I love Botswana for its kind and friendly people, for nature and, for its calmness. One can’t just help but feel at home.

Zanele Maotwe

Community
Facilitator
+Meet Zanele
My name is Zanele Maotwe, Facilitator at Learn To Play. I joined Learn To Play because I want to make a difference in children’s lives by equipping Mamapreneurs and other caregivers with my Early Childhood Education knowledge and skills.

Since I was younger, I’ve always wanted to make a positive impact in our communities and working with Learn To Play makes that dream come true.

 

When I was little, I loved exploring and playing “Diketo”, a fun traditional Setswana game that encourages numeracy/counting skills. I enjoyed playing it alone most of the time.

 

I love my Botswana, ke ipela ka wena!

Maipelo Motsemme

Community Outreach &
Impact Coordinator
+Meet Maipelo
I’m Maipelo Motsemme, affectionately known as Mangy, and I’m the Community Outreach and Impact Coordinator at Learn To Play. Working at Learn To Play fulfils my calling to advocate and be the voice of every child in Botswana to have an opportunity for early learning. One reason why I jump out of bed to come to work everyday is because I feel it’s my responsibility to make sure that parents and caregivers understand the importance that positive and playful Early Childhood Development can have on a child’s life.

 

My favourite game to play when I was little was a game with wool called malepa.

 

I love Botswana because though we are a small landlocked country, there is so much it has to offer and so much to learn as one travels across the different communities, from untold history to our rich culture which is found in our nutritious food, indigenous plants, landscapes, the people and the different languages spoken across the country!

Gomolemo Letsholo

Community
Facilitator
+Meet Gomolemo
I’m Gomolemo Letsholo, a facilitator at Learn To Play. When I think about Learn To Play, I think of how we are changing the lives of our future generations by equipping mothers and caregivers with important knowledge about ECD. I also think about how children are thriving from their early years and how playgroups build a strong foundation. Everyday when I wake up, I am excited to go out of my comfort zone; changing the lives of our young leaders of tomorrow and this makes me happy and I smile as I come to work.

 

When I was young, I loved creative play. I remember moulding some pots with clay soil and also I liked playing a pretend game called matlwane and also diketo.

 

I love Botswana because it’s a  peaceful country. There’s so much to explore like wildlife in the Okavango Delta. I love this country because this is where I was born and I am proud to be Motswana.

Priyanka Handa Ram

Founder & Director 
+Meet Priyanka
I’m Priyanka, Founder of Learn To Play. I founded Learn To Play because I want every child to access their right to quality early childhood education. I’m excited everyday to harness my expertise and experience in early childhood development and play to bring communities together.

 

When I was little, I loved exploring on my bike and reading… I was always on some kind of adventure – whether outdoors in real life or in my imagination.

 

I love Botswana because our country prioritises communities and conservation – two of my most important values. We have nearly 40% of our country safeguarded as ‘Protected Land’ which means there’s an abundance of pristine wilderness (and lots of elephants!) for even more adventures.

Maipelo Motsemme

Community Outreach & Impact Coordinator
+Meet Maipelo
I’m Maipelo Motsemme, affectionately known as Mangy, and I’m the Community Outreach and Impact Coordinator at Learn To Play. Working at Learn To Play fulfils my calling to advocate and be the voice of every child in Botswana to have an opportunity for early learning. One reason why I jump out of bed to come to work everyday is because I feel it’s my responsibility to make sure that parents and caregivers understand the importance that positive and playful Early Childhood Development can have on a child’s life.

 

My favourite game to play when I was little was a game with wool called malepa.

 

I love Botswana because though we are a small landlocked country, there is so much it has to offer and so much to learn as one travels across the different communities, from untold history to our rich culture which is found in our nutritious food, indigenous plants, landscapes, the people and the different languages spoken across the country!

Pratisha Narula

Community
Education Officer
+Meet Pratisha
I’m Pratisha Narula, the Community Education Officer at Learn To Play. For me, it’s not just a job, it is my passion for helping communities come together in one spirit and nurturing it with love and support. With my background as a sleep consultant and counselor, I’m here because I believe every child and their family deserves to feel strong and confident. I want to see them transform their lives through play and early childhood education.

 

When I was young, I loved fantasy play and pretending to be a mum to my younger sibling and cousins. I loved taking care of them and teaching them through play. I also enjoyed a lot of messy play.

 

I love Botswana for its kind and friendly people, for nature and, for its calmness. One can’t just help but feel at home.

Zanele Maotwe

Community Facilitator
+Meet Zanele
My name is Zanele Maotwe, Facilitator at Learn To Play. I joined Learn To Play because I want to make a difference in children’s lives by equipping Mamapreneurs and other caregivers with my Early Childhood Education knowledge and skills.

Since I was younger, I’ve always wanted to make a positive impact in our communities and working with Learn To Play makes that dream come true.

 

When I was little, I loved exploring and playing “Diketo”, a fun traditional Setswana game that encourages numeracy/counting skills. I enjoyed playing it alone most of the time.

 

I love my Botswana, ke ipela ka wena!

Gomolemo Letsholo

Community Facilitator
+Meet Gomolemo
I’m Gomolemo Letsholo, a facilitator at Learn To Play. When I think about Learn To Play, I think of how we are changing the lives of our future generations by equipping mothers and caregivers with important knowledge about ECD. I also think about how children are thriving from their early years and how playgroups build a strong foundation. Everyday when I wake up, I am excited to go out of my comfort zone; changing the lives of our young leaders of tomorrow and this makes me happy and I smile as I come to work.

 

When I was young, I loved creative play. I remember moulding some pots with clay soil and also I liked playing a pretend game called matlwane and also diketo.

 

I love Botswana because it’s a  peaceful country. There’s so much to explore like wildlife in the Okavango Delta. I love this country because this is where I was born and I am proud to be Motswana.

MEET THE DRIVING FORCE BEHIND LEARN TO PLAY

KAREN CLUNE EVGENIYA TROANSKA MATSHEDISO KGAMANE TAAZIMA KALA ESSACK LOUNGO TIBONE LAUREN MISTRY PRIYANKA HANDA RAM

KAREN CLUNE

 

QUEEN OF THE CASTLE (BOARD CHAIRPERSON)

Karen Clune brings nearly 20 years of global development experience to Learn to Play. Most recently, Karen was the Innovation Team Lead within the U.S. Agency for International Development’s Global Health Bureau. She identified and developed initiatives, partnerships, and activities to catalyze and accelerate ground-breaking innovations for global health.

EVGENIYA TROANSKA

LADY GOLDFINGER

Evgeniya had always aspired to become an astronaut, but whilst at University found another passion in finance and dreamt of becoming the Minister of Finance of Bulgaria, where she is originally from.

Since then, she has spent 16 years in finance and auditing and is currently a partner at Deloitte & Touché Botswana.

Evgeniya spends her “free time” giving back to our planet and community. As a family, they make a conscious effort to recycle, reuse, try hard to reduce our consumption, and achieve sustainable purchasing habits.

MATSHEDISO KGAMANE

 

CROWN PRINCESS

I am a general practitioner currently in private practice. I have been practicing medicine for about 15 years. I started my career in the public sector at Princess Marina Hospital and Gaborone and Tlokweng District Health Management Teams. I have done a lot of healthcare outreach over the years and it was during these outreach visits that I realized how much basic health education was lacking in most of these rural communities.

TAAZIMA KALA ESSACK

PLAY POET

I am is passionate about learning and discovering new ways to help make the environment and people around her thrive. Born and raised in Botswana, I am, by nature, a curious person who is always eager to grow and learn more and adventure to try new things. I love to travel, literature, my family, and baking up a storm.

I am a Public Relations professional and currently manage Hotwire Public Relations Consultancy. I hold a BA (Hons) English Language and Literature, MA English Literature text and Transmission, and an Associateship of King’s College London (AKC), (King’s College London, UK). I am the only Accredited Member of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (MCIPR) (UK) in Botswana and love investing more in growing in this industry that I love.

 

LOUNGO TIBONE

DUCHESS

My technical background is in electrical engineering and having previously worked for a private mining company at operations at Jwaneng, in maintenance and projects for several years, I have now been currently working for an international development and financing institution based in Gaborone for some years. My role primarily focuses on implementing tasks along the Bank’s project management cycle and supporting strategy formulation, developing and maintaining relations with clients and partners, and monitoring the ongoing portfolio.

LAUREN MISTRY

DUCHESS

With 20 years of experience in a competitive environment, Lauren works in the diamond mining industry of Botswana. She found a unique opportunity that focuses on analyzing data. Being detail-oriented, drew to Lauren’s strengths. Having a strong technical background to analyze complex processes helped in developing, innovative robust solutions to challenges in reporting structures in this “sparkly” industry, which is not just all about the glitz and glamour.

PRIYANKA HANDA RAM

 

EMPRESS OF PLAY (FOUNDER & CEO)

Founder of Learn To Play, Priyanka Handa Ram was born and raised in Botswana and has used her 10 years of experience doing a multitude of social enterprise projects to create a more literate, happy, and healthy childhood for the clients she works with.

Priyanka is passionate about Play, Nature, and Literacy and incorporates these in her work as well as in her role as a published children’s author; writing stories about adventure, virtues, and conservation. 

 Early Childhood and Play-based literacy are Priyanka’s primary focus and she is pioneering programmes and organizations in Botswana to advocate for young children to be nurtured, educated, and protected

Mamapreneurs

We work with wonderfully motivated Mamapreneurs in each community who deliver the Learn To Play playgroups on a daily basis with our support and training.

Community and Partnerships

 

The Learn To Play approach involves strong and positive relationships with the local community to revolutionise play, preserve culture and promote wellbeing. We’re a proud Brand Botswana company and bear the #pushaBW pridemark for all our locally made products and services. We know our clients and beneficiaries love Botswana’s wildlife so conservation and nature are key elements in our curriculum, resources and partnerships.

 

As a team, we feel sheer optimism when working with communities and families; there is power in our play framework and there’s certainly an element of magic when working with children in the African outdoors… these ingredients catalyse our solutions into lasting impact.

 

Some of our partners that we value in helping us achieve this magic:

 

Elephants Without Borders and Cheetah Conservation Botswana

Community and Partnerships

 

The Learn To Play approach involves strong and positive relationships with the local community to revolutionise play, preserve culture and promote wellbeing. We’re a proud Brand Botswana company and bear the #pushaBW pridemark for all our locally made products and services. We know our clients and beneficiaries love Botswana’s wildlife so conservation and nature are key elements in our curriculum, resources and partnerships.

 

As a team, we feel sheer optimism when working with communities and families; there is power in our play framework and there’s certainly an element of magic when working with children in the African outdoors… these ingredients catalyse our solutions into lasting impact.

 

Some of our partners that we value in helping us achieve this magic:

 

Elephants Without Borders and Cheetah Conservation Botswana