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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. 



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Six Kovsies included in SA U/19 team
2010-05-06

From the left are: Monique Lemon, Carmen Swanepoel, Lauren-Lee Christians, Nieke Loubser, Ané Botha, and Fikile Mkhuzangwe.
Photo: Gerhard Louw
During the South African Netball Championships that were recently held in Richards Bay, six students from the University of the Free State (UFS) were included in the top-twenty group of players in the country.

This achievement qualified Kovsies Nieke Loubser, Lauren-Lee Christians, Ané Botha, Fikile Mkhuzangwe, Monique Lemon and Carmen Swanepoel for the U/19 team. This team will participate in the Zone-6 Games (the African Games for U/19 netball players) in Swaziland later this year.

Ms Burta de Kock from KovsieSport at the UFS, said: “With the incredible support of the university, the group could not fail to achieve this. To have six players in the South African U/19 team of fifteen is a great achievement for the university.

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