We Gotta Play Together Founder – Josee Uwamahoro
Beaten, my clothes shredded, thrown down a hole and all but buried in sand. I was 17 years old, I had no reason to expect I ‘d survive.
In more than a month of panicked cat and mouse through the Rwandan forest south of Kigali, I was often just a shadow away from machete-wielding gangs. I’d seen what deadly instruments my Hutu neighbours had become.
Screams, sickening thuds, bloodied stumps, classmates killing classmates, it was the stuff of nightmares. A cauldron of hate boiling over and infecting everyone it touched.
One by one, my family had dwindled and then it was my turn.
Three days in the hole, I swam in and out of consciousness. My body bloating and numb on top of rotting corpses. Miraculously, two toddlers found me there and ran to find help.
I was rescued but my body refused to work and my tears never seemed to end. Nor was that the last of the dangers I faced as was the case with my mixed affinity rescuers. Later my doctors debated what to do with my stinking damaged body.
Pronounced paralyzed for life, I sank into misery willing myself to die and arguing with God. Slowly my arguments shifted from “how do you think I ‘m going to survive this?” to the bible telling me “everything is possible”.
Shutting the door to my room, I doggedly dragged myself into crutches and tried my best to walk, day after falling down day.
I now live in Edmonton with my husband and two kids. You may think after all I’ve been through, how did I manage to make another family? How did I rebuild my life? It’s all about having hope for tomorrow and the tomorrow after that.
With hope, everything to me was always possible and I still believe that to this day.
My experience during the time of genocide left me with injuries that gave me strong empathy for others. That especially included the younger generation with various disabilities who are left outside the circle of accessible playgrounds and other facilities.
This also made me think strongly about the parents of kids with disabilities and the many difficulties they face each day.
As long as I’m alive there is always hope that I can make a difference in these young people’s lives.
My desire is to build a playground for all children that advocates a zero rejection policy. A place where I will see a smile in their faces, where no one is left behind, and there will be no more feeling of isolation.
With hope, my dream will one day come true!
An indoor playground for all children and advocates a ‘zero rejection policy” where no one is left behind because of a disability.
We Gotta Play Together. The playground will welcome all parents, friends and caregivers to gather for fun.
A place where experienced supervisors will make sure children are well supported according to their needs.
A playground that is accessible and easy for children to play regardless of their abilities or disabilities.
A place where children’s special events will have everything they need such as birthday packages, party themes and more.
A drop-in program supervised by our experienced special needs staff.
The WGPT playground will benefit all children in and outside of the province of Alberta.
A place where children with physical, sensory and cognitive challenges will be able to play freely and safely.
A playground with day camps for all children regardless of their abilities or disabilities.
To ensure that we meet all children’s needs.
To ensure that the playground has equipment for children of all levels.
To provide experienced and trained supervisors that have love and care for all children.
To ensure that families with special needs children are comfortable and happy with our services and care.
To ensure that our staff and supervisors are very respectful of parent’s needs.
To ensure that parents and children are being treated normally and equally.
To ensure that our sensory rooms are well designed and have enough items to accommodate each children’s needs.
We believe that children with disabilities need support to eliminate barriers so they can fully engage with their peers. Every child with a disability has things they are great at but sometimes they are not always obvious to start.
Children with disabilities need friends, parents and grown-ups who encourage them by telling them what they’re good at and how proud they are. Although children with disabilities may take a little longer to learn they soon realize they are equally capable to others.
Encouraging them to get involved with things they like makes them feel special and loved. Together we will make a huge difference in children with disabilities’ lives because…
“Unconditional love can transform children in many ways!”
- High school or college students
- First aid certificate
- Babysitting training
- Daycare experience
- Experience working with children in wheelchairs
- Sensory room experience
- Playground supervision experience
- Ability to read, write and interpret documents
- Ability to apply basic math to calculate discounts, interest and percentage ETC
- Strong problem solving
“There’s always been a commitment to provide playgrounds that welcome children and families to enjoy the fun and now let’s take that commitment even further. It’s time to build an indoor playground that is accessible and inclusive to one and all.”
Let's All Lend A Hand
WGPT needs everyone from citizens, corporations and the government to jump on board and help make this dream a reality. Edmonton has always been a human rights leader and now we have the opportunity to show the province, country and the world how serious it is about helping disabled children.
Phone Number: 780-394-3772
Address: (still waiting on address)
DONATE TO WGPT
If you'd like to donate to the development of the WGPT Centre we would appreciate your help. Every dollar counts in making this facility something disabled children in Edmonton and beyond can call their own.