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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

A model of resilience – Dr Anja Botha probes into the ability to recover from trauma
2014-12-02

She may have been awarded her doctorate degree only in July 2014, but Psychology lecturer at the University of the Free State (UFS), Dr Anja Botha, is already making a name for herself with her latest research.

Her study aims to develop a model of resilience for South African adolescents exposed to trauma. “The broad field, within which I work, is that of Developmental Psychology, with a specific focus on child and adolescent development and therapy,” says Dr Botha. 

Resilience studies are situated within Developmental Psychology since normal developmental tasks – such as achieving self-confidence and building supportive relationships – contribute greatly to children’s resilience. Resilience broadly refers to the individual’s ability to ‘bounce back’ after being exposed to adversity.

“The model of resilience which I compiled was a good fit for my participant group, indicating that the model explains the development of resilience in these adolescents well. The factors that I found to promote resilience in the South African context include various coping skills, intra- and interpersonal strengths, family involvement, and school engagement.

“Thus, aside from my passion for resilience studies, I am also very much interested in coping, strength-based interventions, parental guidance and school-based programmes.”

Dr Botha was awarded a Donald J Cohen fellowship in August 2014 during the 21st World Congress of the International Association for Child and Adolescent Psychiatrists and Allied Professions. The fellowship is in recognition of her work as an emerging international scholar in the field of child and adolescent mental health. This award was based on both her research as well as her involvement in the training of postgraduate students in child psychology.

She is currently supervising a number of master’s students’ research on various constructs related to resilience.

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