Hotel in Tunisia Won’t Accept Child With Dwarfism, She Would be a “Burden”

International   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jul 16, 2014   |   11:32AM   |   Washington, DC

In another case of discrimination against people with disabilities, a three-year-old girl with a dwarfism condition was recently turned away from a holiday hotel children’s club as her family looked to vacation there.

Eva Moissard suffers from a form of dwarfism called achondroplasia. Her mother Heidi called the Club Magic Life Penelope Beach, in Djerba, Tunisia to explain Eva’s condition and determine if the hotel would be able to accommodate her. Hotel staff assured her there would be no problems and that Eva would be accepted in hotel kids club.

evaBut when family arrived, staff made it clear she would be a “burden” because of her condition.

After a charity for people with dwarfism spoke out on Eva’s behalf, the hotel has apologized and indicated it would look into the incident.

Here’s more:

Before going away Mrs Moissard contacted the holiday company, Thomson, to explain that Eva had a form of dwarfism – achondroplasia – and had limited mobility because of her age and size.

She specifically wanted to know that the children’s club at the hotel would accept Eva and was given and assurance that it would.

However, when the family arrived at the hotel, staff working in the club made clear that they saw Eva as a burden and that she would not be welcome to join in the fun and games.

Mrs Moissard said the experience had been heart breaking, particularly when set against the achievements of people in the public eye who have dwarfism, such as the celebrated Paralympic swimmer, Ellie Simmonds, and the actor, Warwick Davis.

Mr Davis is co-founder of the campaigning group Little People UK, which support families where children are born with the condition.

A spokesman for the group said: ‘It is disheartening that in the 21st century, people with dwarfism are still being judged on what other people perceive they can’t do, or by how they look.

Moissard, a 43-year-old single mum, from Bedfordshire, said her family had been looking forward to the holiday at the end of May.‘It is quite tough for us. We had not been on holiday together as a family for a very long time and the girls were really keen to go away,’ she said.

‘We spend a lot of time looking after Eva and we wanted a holiday where there was a kids club that would take three year olds to give her and everyone a break. After searching on the internet, we found this particular holiday and hotel with Thomson.

‘Eva is small and one aspect of her condition is that her muscle tone is not as well developed as other three year olds, which means she can walk a little but is not running around.’

Mrs Moissard, who gave up a plan to retrain as French teacher to look after Eva, said: ‘I called Thomson to make sure that the hotel and kids club would accept her.

‘I explained Eva had a form of dwarfism and had limited mobility. They assured me the hotel would have to accept Eva at the children’s club and would make sure that they did. Based on that assurance, I went ahead and booked.’

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But Mrs Moissard said: ‘When we got there and went to kids club with Eva in her buggy, the lady who was in charge said she can’t come in because she can’t walk.

‘She said she would not be able to do any of the activities, such as going for a picnic or to the beach. They said they did not have the staff to push Eva in her buggy.

‘Naturally, I got quite upset and emotional on Eva’s behalf, particularly as I have been assured they would take her.’

She explained that Eva goes to a nursery two days a week when she is at home and is used to spending time with other children and adults outside the immediate family. Eventually, the staff relented and said she could attend some morning sessions, providing the family remained close by.