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18 April 2019 | Story Rulanzen Martin

The Institute for Reconciliation and Social Justice IRSJ) has initiated a Social Justice Week at the University of the Free State (UFS), which started on Friday 12 April  until Wednesday 17 April 2019. 

Ten key events took place during the week. It ranged from dialogues, workshops, talk shows, debates, and interactive displays and events on issues of multilingualism and diversity, social innovation, engaged scholarship, the Fourth Industrial Revolution, gender sensitisation, sexual consent, sexual preparedness, universal access, disability, anti-discrimination, and security.

There was also a round-table discussion on 17 April 2019 with various UFS stakeholders on off-campus student security as well as an inter-institutional discussion on the same topic. The UFS Debating Society will take on the topic of the UFS Language Policy, while Olga Barends from the Free State Centre for Human Rights will host a dialogue on sexual consent.

The IRSJ has also designed and implemented SOJO-VATION: Social Innovation/ Social Change, which strives to create a foundational platform where ideas of social justice, innovation, and engaged scholarship at the UFS and in society can be hosted. SOJO-VATION partners with the Office for Student Leadership, Development, and Community Engagement.

The collaborating partners for the Social Justice Week includes various UFS stakeholders such as the Sasol library, the Gender and Sexual Equity Office, UFS Protection Services, the Free State Centre for Human Rights, the Student Representative Council (SRC), the Office for Student Leadership Development, Kovsie Innovation, GALA, the FFree State Centre for Human Rights, SRC Associations, the Office for Student Governance, Kovsie Innovate, Start-Up-Grind, EVC, EBL, Community Engagement, the Institutional Transformation Plan (ITP) Dialogues Office, Residence Dialogues, UFS Debating Society, Debate Afrika!, the Center for Universal Access and Disability Support (CUADS), and the Gateway Office. 

News Archive

Community builders honoured at Community Engagement Awards
2016-10-13

Description: "06 -10-2016 Comm Engagement Awards Read More Tags: Comm Engagement Awards

Photo: Charl Devenish

The office of Community Engagement held its annual Community Engagement Awards at the University of the Free State (UFS) on 5 October 2016. This year, the ceremony celebrated people who gave themselves selflessly to improve the lives of those around them who are less privileged. Key players in various sectors of society were recognised and honoured for their contribution and commitment towards a common good.

Dr Richard Teare, president of the Global University for Lifelong Learning (GULL), was the keynote speaker at the ceremony. GULL, a non-profit foundation, operates across the world, providing access to lifelong learning for communities, giving each individual an opportunity to make a difference in their world. Dr Teare talked of places that lack the provision and infrastructure to access higher education and said that through community service programmes, social and economic development was enhanced, and the necessary expertise and resources were provided to drive a community towards a greater good. “Community engagement espouses academic excellence—it enables people to discover their full potential.”

Through its partnership with GULL, the University of Free State has worked with women from Bloem Shelter, an organisation that provides assistance to underprivileged women and children from diverse walks of life. The women were equipped with the necessary skills and knowledge they needed to become self-sufficient - an experience that has yielded positive, constructive change in the women’s lives. 

The awards also acknowledged the boldness and innovative support of members of the Free State community in their various sectors. Among those awarded was Dr Choice Makhetha for her contribution in building capacity for those involved in community service programmes. She also designed and created approaches to improve situations in schools, churches, community organisations and small businesses. Also presented with an award was Dr Dipane Hlalele of the Qwaqwa Campus for his role as principal investigator in two National Research Foundation (NRF) -funded projects; Rural Relational Leadership and Sustainable Rural and Urban Connection. The ICT Innovation in School Education division of the South Campus was also recognised for its Internet Broadcast Project (IBP), which provides lessons on different subjects to 72 000 learners and 3 000 teachers each week.

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