A Fellow of the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) Rita Kriba, who is living with a disability has vowed to use all the channels available to her to seek redress in what she says was an act of discrimination against her by domestic airline operator, Africa World Airlines (AWA).
According to Rita, officials of the airline prevented her from boarding a plane to Kumasi last Saturday because it was against their policy for passengers to travel with crutches.
“They took my passport first and told me that I should wait for them and that I will be leaving at 7:00 …So when it was 7:00 and I was supposed to check-in I was told to stand aside and that I can’t send my crutches inside the plane. So I told them I am a person with a disability, how can I go and leave my crutches. They said ‘no, crutches are not allowed,” she recounted to Joy News.
She said she will not let the matter rest.
She said she will do “whatever it takes to get this out there, for people to know that persons with disabilities are also entitled to whatever Ghanaians are enjoying.”
“We are also humans. We will use whatever means for this thing to be addressed,” she vowed.
A test of life’s work
Incidentally, Rita works at the Department of Social Welfare and runs an NGO called the Disabled Child and Youth Foundation.
Fighting for a person with disabled-friendly Ghana is what she has dedicated her life to.
“I want people with disabilities to be treated as normal citizens of Ghana. I want children with disability to grow up knowing that they are part of the society, knowing that they can also create an impact, knowing that they are like any other person and they can achieve whatever they want to achieve,” she said.
Rita says she was on her way to Kumasi for an important meeting when she was turned away by the airline.
When Joy News contacted Africa World Airlines, the company said the incident has not come to their attention.
The company has indicated that it allows persons with disabilities pre-boarding to find a suitable seat.
The airline also says on its website that it transports wheelchairs and other assistance devices for personal use at no charge, and offers enplaning and deplaning when the issue has been raised during ticket purchase.