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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 conquers Googlefest Zurich pitching competition
2014-07-29

  

Marlize Holtzhauzen
Photo: Supplied

Marlize Holtzhauzen, a final-year Business Management and Leadership student at the UFS Business School, was recently awarded the 1st prize at the Google pitching competition in Zurich, Switzerland.

Holtzhauzen’s winning entry, Rapid Response, is a mobile application for use in emergency situations. In an emergency the application allows the phone to be used as a panic button which contacts emergency services and notifies the family of the user. The app, co-founded by Gerrit Cloete, was selected as one of 10 South African technology start-ups. These were part of the Swiss South African Business Development Programme under the auspices of the Swiss South African Joint Research Programme.

Since its launch on 1 July 2014, the Rapid Response app has had over 400 downloads and is available on app stores. It has also stirred interest in Europe and the USA and is already in use in Southern and East Africa. Holtzhauzen says good team work and a great product will ensure the success of this start-up in the future.

Other South African entries included Drew van der Riet from the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN): Advanced Prosthetics Engineering. Gavin Jones of the University of Cape Town (UCT) also entered. He is a Technology Commercialisation practitioner candidate working on the commercialisation of a UCT innovation for the rehabilitation of stroke patients.

For more information contact Marlize on +27(0)83 3270 177 or visit the website www.rapidresponse.co.za .


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