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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

Kovsie bounces back from heart surgery and raises the bar
2017-07-10

Description: Kovsie bounces back from heart surgery and raises the bar Tags: Gymnastics, Charissa Worthmann, University of the Free State, Biokinetics, Department of Zoology and Entomology 

Charissa Worthmann, a gymnast and postgraduate Biokinetics
student at the UFS, overcame heart surgery earlier this year
and excelled at her sport. Photo: Supplied



“Life is too short to abandon what sets you on fire. Find your passion, work hard at it and be great. You will never look back and wish otherwise.” These are the words that postgraduate student Charissa Worthmann lives by, and which have encouraged her to pursue her dream of being a gymnast.

Humble beginnings
After undergoing heart surgery earlier this year, Charissa bounced back stronger than ever. She went on to win five regional gold medals at the Free State Gymnastics Championships in February 2017 and was also crowned Free State Victrix Ludorum. In October 2016 she won a gold medal for her apparatus routine at the South African GymnasticsChampionships.

Charissa, who is currently doing her honours in Biokinetics at the University of the Free State (UFS), said coming from a small town was not always an advantage. “I come from a small town in KwaZulu-Natal where there are not many opportunities. Therefore there was no gymnastics. I found my natural talent, but never had the opportunity to develop it before coming to the UFS.”

Inspired by lecturer
Charissa’s inspiration is Prof Liesl van As, Associate Professor from the Department of Zoology and Entomology. She is also completing her undergraduate Zoology modules to later complete her postgraduate studies in Zoology. “As a student, our lecturers don’t often realise it, but they shape us to aim higher in life.”

According to Charissa, Prof van As is a woman of pure brilliance who has aspects that every woman should aspire to: Beauty, intelligence and a drive to succeed. “I owe a vast majority of my success to her, because even though she may not realise it, her motivational attitude and success in life drove me to succeed in areas of my life.”

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