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25 April 2019 | Story Mamosa Makaya

Since 2016, the University of the Free State Center for Universal Access and Disability Support (CUADS) has received a grant from First National Bank worth R2 498 000, which supports tertiary bursaries for students with disabilities. Bursary holders are funded through CUADS, as the administrator of the bursaries.
  
These are students enrolled for various academic programmes who require academic assistance and/or assistive devices such as electronic handheld magnifiers, laptops, and hearing aids. The FNB grant also covers tuition, accommodation, study material and books, and meals.  The success of the grant is already evident, with one of the recipients having graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in December 2018. A second student was capped at the April 2019 graduations with a BSc Honours in Quantity Surveying.
 
Supporting the principles of the ITP

The UFS received the grant from FNB in instalments, starting in the 2016 academic year to date, supporting the needs of 40 disabled students. This grant and the work of CUADS speaks to and supports the principles of the Integrated Transformation Plan (ITP), namely inclusivity, transformation, and diversity. The vision of the Universal Access work stream is to enable the UFS to create an environment where students with disabilities can experience all aspects of student life equal to their non-disabled peers. The ITP provides for the recognition of the rights of people with disabilities as an important lesson in social justice and an opportunity to reinforce university values.

The successful administration of the grant to benefit past and present students is a ‘feather in the cap’ of CUADS, and is a shining example of the impact of public private investment and the endless possibilities that open up when there is a commitment to developing future leaders in academic spaces, allowing them to thrive by creating a learning environment that is welcoming and empowering. 



News Archive

Louzanne breaks own world record in Switzerland
2017-06-09

Description: Louzanne breaks own world record  Tags: Louzanne breaks own world record

Rufus Botha (left), coach of the athlete Louzanne Coetzee,
went overseas with Coetzee and her guide,
Khothatso Mokone, for a race for the first time.
Coetzee improved her T11 5 000 m world record with more
than 20 seconds in Switzerland.
Photo: Johan Roux

She fought against illness, had to get the green light from medical personnel shortly before her main race, and was very nervous. However, on 5 June 2017, the blind athlete Louzanne Coetzee managed to improve the T11 5 000 m world record with more than 20 seconds.

The Kovsie star’s time of 18:14.27 at the ParAthletics Grand Prix in Nottwil, Switzerland, was approximately 23 seconds faster than her previous world record (18:37.23). In addition, Coetzee, who works at the Institute for Reconciliation and Social Justice at the University of the Free State, also improved the South African T11 800 m record to 2:30.18 on 2 June 2017, and her 4:59.54 on 3 June 2017 in the T11 1 500 m was almost another national record.

Carried by UFS and other support
“One could never be ungrateful when running close to your personal best,” Coetzee said. “Fortunately, with God’s blessing, the support of everybody at home, support from the university, as well as my mom and them, it really was a very blessed and successful event.”

According to her coach, Rufus Botha, Coetzee was not feeling well before the event and had to get medical clearance before the 5 000 m. He told her not to run too hard, even though their goal was 18:20. “She ran an incredible final 600 m, which brought the time down to 18:14,” he said. “It was amazing to watch.”

Botha’s knowledge valuable abroad
He enjoyed going overseas with Coetzee and her guide, Khothatso Mokone, for the first time. “His (Botha’s) experience, knowledge, support, and coaching was extremely valuable,” Coetzee said. “It will definitely help me in future: how to approach things, and everything he shared with us.”

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