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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 students receive American Cancer Society Award
2012-08-30

 
Kovsie students during one of their purple cake sales
30 August 2012

South Africa’s first student-driven CANSA (Cancer Association of South Africa) Relay for Live, organised by students from the University of the Free State, has received an International Award from the American Cancer Society.

Showing solidarity with survivors of cancer, those who have battled and lost loved ones to the disease, the Kovsie students were rewarded with the society’s 2011/2012 Heart of Relay Award for youth involvement. The award was handed out at a ceremony in Mossel Bay in the Western Cape.

The Relay for Life is a global initiative that has been running for 26 years. It is an overnight relay event where teams of people camp out around a track. Members of each team take turns walking and running around the track. They also participate in a Luminaria ceremony where loved ones lost to cancer are remembered.

Relay for Life events are held for the general public as well as tertiary institutions. The Relay for Life event, held on the Bloemfontein Campus at the beginning of the year, was the first student organised one in South Africa.

Leading up to the event, Kovsie students engaged in a number of cancer awareness campaigns. These included purple cake sales and a shava-thon event. All money raised was donated to the Cancer Association of South Africa.

Sibusiso Tshabalala, founding chairperson of the Kovsie initiative, says the students worked with the local chapter of the Childhood Cancer Foundation (CHOC). “The event was generally learning about cancer, sharing the idea of solidarity and bringing students together.” Sibusiso says a similar project is planned for next year.
 

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