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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

Two Kovsies crowned at Miss Deaf SA
2014-10-16


Back, from the left are: Gert en Narda Els (founders of Miss Deaf SA), Elrie du Toit (second princess), Martie Collen (organiser of Miss Deaf SA), Hermina Christi Greeff (first princess), Marissa Smith (Miss Deaf Africa 2014).
Front: Elzane van den Bergh.

The new Deaf Miss South Africa was announced – and Elzane van den Bergh, a Kovsie student, was crowned the winner. Elzane, a final-year BEd Foundation Phase student, also won the title for Best Talent at this swanky event.

Another Kovsie student, Elrie du Toit, was selected as second princess. She was also among the top five for the Best Talent title. Elrie is currently studying to become a social worker.

Twelve finalists from all over South Africa, all deaf or hard of hearing, took part.

On the competition at Miss Deaf South Africa, Elzane’s thoughts are that the judges had a very difficult choice to make. “Each talented girl had some special characteristic that stood out,” she relates.

“I really wanted to do something like this as it would help to make a bigger difference in the community and motivate people to accept themselves for who they are, because we are all uniquely created.”

Elzane’s focus is on teaching basic sign language to hearing parents with deaf babies. She also believes that hearing people should be made more aware of the deaf culture and language. This will eventually lead to deafness no longer being perceived as a disability.

Hard work and preparations are now lying ahead for Miss Deaf World, which will be held in Prague during June next year.

“Never allow any disability or obstacle to stand in the way of your dreams,” says Elzane. “Stick it out and don’t doubt in your abilities for one second, because you were born to be a winner. Be proud of yourself, no matter what.”

 

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