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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

UFS professor receives international recognition for exceptional ethical values
2015-10-02

“You grow so fond of them,” Prof André Venter,
Head: Department of Paediatrics and Child Health,
says while doing his rounds with patients.
Prof Venter recently received the award for health professions
from the international organisation, Unashamedly Ethical.

“You are such a pretty baby,” Prof André Venter, Head: Department of Paediatrics and Child Health at the University of the Free State, whispers to a baby lying stretched out in her neonatal cradle.

He uses his fingertips to free her legs and arms carefully from the monitors and wires attached to her.

“See how much you have grown,” he says, tapping with his finger on her file. 1.2 kg - her weight indicates. 

In one of the other children’s wards, he joins a mother sitting with her sick baby. Speaking about the baby’s operation coming up within the next few months, he gives her an encouraging pat on the shoulder.

He visits yet another mother who is practising kangaroo care on her baby, and asks to hold the baby for a while.

“Gosh, you’re so nice and warm, let doctor hold you for a while,” he says, hugging the premature baby to his chest.

Prof Venter greets and thanks the nursing staff at the end of his ward rounds.

“Everything is not always good, but one can try to plan for the future from the challenges,” he says. “One should never concentrate on the immediate problem too much, but lift the morale of those using our services, those providing the services, and those who come here for training.”

It is this kind of passion and outlook that earned Prof Venter an ethical award from the international organisation, Unashamedly Ethical. The award, which was made in the health professions category, recognises doctors for exceptional ethical values and for going the extra mile in alleviating the suffering of humanity.

“I am humbled at being honoured for something I see as my passion and actually take for granted. I am also touched that people from outside noticed and nominated me for this,” he says.

He talks about his young patients again: “I learn so much from them each day. Children are so resistant to negative things. I grow so fond of them that I forget they have to go home some time.”

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