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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

Junior researcher makes Kovsies proud

Herkulaas Combrink received the Junior Researcher Award at the 3rd Annual Health Research Day held on 30 and 31 October 2014. On this day, clinicians and scientists shared information on research that will impact health in the Free State.

Combrink is a student in the Faculty of Health Sciences’ Department of Human Genetics, as well as Medical Science intern with the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA). His research project: ‘Familial Breast Cancer in BRCA1 and BRCA2 within the Indian population of South Africa’ forms part of an umbrella study which looks at the various populations of South Africa for familial breast cancer mutations within BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes, so that diagnostic panels can be created. This is the first study of its kind to be done on this population group in South Africa.

He says: “I am passionate about my research and the impact of my work. I am hard-working and believe in the value of my contribution to science. My philosophy is that theory must always be put into practice. I apply this philosophy to everything I pursue.”

The research week was held by the School of Medicine in conjunction with the Free State Department of Health.

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