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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

Because you can do the undoable
2014-05-30


Gabriela Schroder

Since visiting the University of Vermont in 2011 as an F1 student and attending the Stanford Sophomore College the year after, Gabriela Schroder has never stopped dreaming and working towards her objectives.

During the autumn graduation earlier in 2014, Gabriela received the Dean’s Medal. This award goes to the final-year student who achieves the best results in respect of a first Bachelor’s degree in the Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences. Her triumph did not end there. In addition, she also received the Senate’s Medal and Prize which is awarded to the best Bachelor’s degree student at the university. Across all the faculties of our university. 

“Although these medals came to me as a surprise, it really was a reward to my hard work and toil throughout my undergraduate years,” she said. Schroder was also honoured and introduced by Prof Jonathan Jansen on stage at this year’s Kovsie Open Day, along with other top achieving students. She believes that anybody can reach their goals if they are willing to make sacrifices and through focus, hard work and determination. 

One of her favourite quotes that motives her is of Albert Einstein, “You really understand something if you can explain it to your grandmother.” In the process of learning, one must break down what they are working towards. She advises to make the knowledge your own – this develops a better insight into the concept. In the end, that which is regarded as complex is originally built from simple principles.

Schroder is currently studying towards her BSc Honours in Biochemistry at Kovsies. She has her sights set on a master’s degree in the near future.

“To my fellow Kovsies and beyond: seize your opportunities. Don’t be afraid to think the unthinkable – because you can do the undoable,” she added.

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