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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

A campaign that rocks
2012-08-28

Ms Elizabeth Msadu
Linda Fekisi 
27 August 2012

The 2011/2012 Student Representative Council and Wellness Office on our Bloemfontein Campus launched the “We are your rock” campaign during Women’s Month. The campaign is a support system primarily aimed at female students. It addresses issues such as intimate partner violence, prostitution and students who go hungry. The campaign also caters for those in need of career and academic advice.

The idea for such an initiative was born out of a meeting between Dr Dina Darker, a pastor’s wife at the Kovsie Student Church, and Ms Elizabeth Msadu, a social worker at the Wellness Office. “Dr Darker was concerned about rumours regarding improper behaviour of female students and wanted the input of a social worker on the subject,” says Ms Msadu. “Many girls are in relationships with older men, which result in a high level of unplanned pregnancies that often end in abortions.”

How the initiative works is that a student in need will write her name and contact number on a rock or a piece of paper and put it in a box placed in our Women’s Memorial Garden. Ms Msadu empties the box once a week and contacts the student in need. She describes her experience thus far of the campaign as “interesting, exciting and an eye-opener”.
 

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