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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

Wayde van Niekerk sets new African record
2015-06-11


Wayde van Niekerk

Eight years before Wayde van Niekerk was born, Gabriel Tiacoh set a record of 31.74 in a 300m race. Now, 7 June 2015 has been marked as the historic day when the University of the Free State student sprinted 300m in 31.63 seconds at the Diamond League meeting in Birmingham.


Van Niekerk improved on his 2011 personal best 300m finish of 33.32 seconds, set in Stellenbosch. The African championship silver medalist said setting a new African record was “a blessing that I cannot really explain. Everything I achieve is God’s work.”

“What drives me is my family and friends, and the fact that I know my gift comes from God so running is my way of thanking the Lord,” he added.


Odessa Swarts, his mother, expressed how proud she is of her son. “I believe and trust with his faith in our heavenly father he is destined to become one of the greats South Africa has ever produced.”


His coach, Ans Botha, expressed her satisfaction, although she described his feat as “a little bit unexpected.” She said Van Niekerk’s achievement indicates that they are in the right track en route to the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) World Championships in Beijing.


Van Niekerk is at present preparing for a 400m Adidas Grand Prix event in New York this Saturday.

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