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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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“Stick to your dreams, reach your destiny,” Zahara tells class of 2012
2012-09-07

Foto: Thabo Kessah
5 September 2012

Grade 12 learners from more than 30 schools in the Eastern Free State recently attended the Qwaqwa Campus Open Day where they were addressed by singer Zahara. She entertained the learners with hits like Loliwe, Umthwalo and Destiny and she advised the Class of 2012 to stick to their dreams if they wanted to reach their destinies. The Vice-Rector: External Relations, Dr Choice Makhetha, also addressed the learners and told the packed Rolihlahla Mandela Hall never to allow their disadvantaged backgrounds to influence their futures. “I was also in your shoes years ago. I know how it feels to come from a poor family. But I am here today and proud to say I am part of the leadership of one of the best universities in the world,” said Dr Makhetha. Learners then visited various faculties and departments to see what they offered and also had the opportunity to apply for placement in the 2013 academic year.

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