Play2Learn: Dedicated to Overcoming Obstacles and Inspiring Children to Follow Their Dreams

by | Jun 17, 2022 | Heartivist Of The Week

Using her voice and gift for teaching, Mercy Abdulsalam inspires and influences change by empowering young people in Nigeria to discover their potential and lead exceptional lives of service. Growing up, she’d been exposed to creative games and sports, however she saw that the support to follow one’s dreams in those realms was non-existent, so she decided to give back to her community in a lasting way. With a team of volunteers, Mercy launched Play2Learn, a project that encourages creativity among vulnerable children ages 3-10 from marginalized communities, thus helping them reach their fullest potential.

Play2Learn - Mercy AbdulsalamThough Mercy originally lived in Okehi, a small town in Kogi state, north-central Nigeria, with her seven siblings, a new job for her father required that they move to Abuja, the capital city of Nigeria. Mercy attended the local, community, government school which provided a daily “break time” when she was expected to sit in the classroom or go outside to play sports and games with other kids, despite the fact that there were no properly designed sports areas or educative games. So, she and the other children would use old clothes to make footballs and cardboard and paper to craft airplanes and kites. They’d gather sticks to do relay races, play hide and seek, use stones or bottle caps for counting, draw games on the ground, create teams of girls and boys to do challenges and even dig holes in the ground to play Ayoo, a traditional game. These activities not only brought joy, they allowed the children to enjoy school.

Mercy and many others loved the creative world of sports and even now, she fondly recalls being a female striker on the football team.

“When Mallam Sani, a very committed teacher of sport, gathered us as pupils in primary four for competition, he pushed severally. Still, there was no support for such things. Some of us kept pushing in the football journey and yet no one among us is following their sporting career today because the discouragement was overwhelming. So I have dedicated my life to the younger generation as much as I can in order to touch their lives and encourage them to live their dreams,” said Mercy.

Although 85% of brain development happens before age 5, early childhood development (ECD) continues to be a low priority in developing nations. In Sub-Saharan Africa, only 12% of children have access to early childhood development centers and this is usually at pre-schools that fail to nurture creativity and imagination because they are focused on rote memorization. For children in urban slums and low-income communities who face extreme poverty, neglect, and poor health, accessing quality ECD is virtually impossible.

Knowing this, Mercy reached out to The Pollination Project with a creative and sustainable idea. Play2Learn sought to improve foundational learning, creativity, self-expression, and constructive problem-solving among children through the construction of innovative and low-cost playgrounds for two, public primary schools using recycled home waste and locally resourced materials to improve cognitive learning.

Today, Play2Learn is looking to train teachers from these select schools and inspire creative play knowing that it teaches children how to confront and overcome challenges and develop resilience. The inspiration and support that Play2Learn provides has the potential to change the life of each and every child who looks to follow their dreams.


🧡 Happy Sunday 🧡 

#kindness #compassion #heartivism
Call for our Spanish speaking followers 👇

🐮🐷🐔🐣 ¡Te invitamos a unirte a la octava edición del Retiro de Meditación para Activistas por los Animales! 🧘🏻‍♀️ Este evento gratuito, dirigido a activistas hispanohablantes, se llevará a cabo los días 4 y 5 de mayo de 2024 a través de Zoom, y estará guiado por nuestro facilitador, Tashi Nyima.

❔ ¿Por qué participar? Sabemos que muchos activistas por los animales enfrentan desafíos emocionales que pueden afectar su capacidad para seguir adelante. 📣🆘

✅ En este retiro, aprenderás valiosas estrategias de autocuidado para fortalecer tu mundo interior y hacer que tu activismo sea más compasivo y efectivo. 🫶🏼✊🏼


¡Ayúdanos a difundir esta invitación entre tus contactos comprometidos con la causa! 🌱💚

#activistas #animalistas #meditacion #derechosanimales #animalrights #animalactivism #heartivism
🌟 Empowering Through Play! 🌟

Nature Trust (Tamilnadu, India) launched the project, "Enhance the Skills of Children with Disabilities through Play," supported by one of our seed grants 🎉✨ Timed with World Autism Awareness Day 2024, this initiative resonates with the theme of "Empowering the Autistic Voices."

In particular, the grant allowed Nature Trust to provide specially curated play materials to 20 remarkable children with diverse disabilities. These tools were thoughtfully selected to ignite their development and unlock their potential. 🧩🎨

At the distribution event held on March 31st, the atmosphere was filled with joy as children and parents expressed gratitude for the newfound importance of play in their lives. 💖👦👧 The presence of local leaders underscored the significance of inclusive initiatives like this one.

Beyond distribution, Nature Trust volunteers engaged with the children, creating lasting connections and memories. 🤝 

Through the power of play, Nature Trust is fostering a more inclusive world where every child has the opportunity to thrive and reach their full potential. 🌈 

Let's continue spreading joy and empowerment through play! 

#EmpowerThroughPlay #InclusiveCommunities 🌟 
#childrenwithdisabilities #autism #supportchildren #kindness #heartivism #India
It's Volunteer Month! 🌟 🌟 🌟 Today we celebrate our grant advisors working on Economic Development focus area.

By meticulously selecting projects for our seed grants, they're not just funding ideas—they're empowering communities and sparking transformative change. 

Join us in celebrating their invaluable efforts and the positive impact they're creating together!

🔸 Eric Anorrey (Ghana)
🔸 Mariam Nakiryowa (Uganda)
🔸 Jean-Marie Zihalirwa (DRC)
🔸 Emily Logiron Asekon (Kenya)
🔸 Georgia Bernbaum (USA) 
🔸 Herve Tsoala Kuete (Cameroon)
🔸 Jackson Bizimungu (Rwanda)
🔸 Okumu Dickson (Uganda)
🔸 Samuel Litunya (Kenya)


#volunteermonth #volunteer #heartivism #economicdevelopment #change #empoweringcommunities