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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. 



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The beginning of the person you want to be
2015-02-03

Photo: Supplied

“The University of the Free State is a caring community where everybody counts.” With this message, Dr Choice Makhetha, Vice-Rector: External Relations welcomed our first-years on the Qwaqwa Campus.

“Whether you are a first-year or a senior student, whether you are a cleaner or a research professor, we all have one thing in common: our humanity,” Dr Makhetha said.

“This is the stage where you are going to shape the person you want to be,” Dr Makhetha said to the audience of eager first-year students who had already spent a week undergoing a rigorous Gateway Orientation programme.

“A lot of things will happen during your stay here and one of them is making friends. Make friends with people from outside your comfort zone,” Dr Makhetha added. “Make friends with those who have a totally different background from yours so that you can learn, broaden and enrich your life.”

“Read broadly and ask questions – for questions will take you far beyond your area of study,” she said.

Zethu Mhlongo, Deputy President of the Qwaqwa Campus Student Representative Council (SRC) encouraged first-years to always remember why they chose our university in the first place.

“Enjoy your stay, get your degree and step up for success,” Mhlongo said.

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