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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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Kovsie fencers dominate the Free State Fencing Closed Competition
2015-10-19


The ultimate clash of the fencing titans Photo credits: Robynne van Zuydam.

Willem Brink and Wanda Verster fenced their hearts out at Free State Closed Competition, winning gold medals in the men’s and women’s category, respectively. These University of the Free State students dominated opponents from the Vrystaat Amateur Skerm Klub (VASK).

Fencers from the VASK retaliated bravely in defense of their honour on Saturday 12 September 2015, with Jurgen Schroder taking home a Silver medal. His team mates, Ruan Coetzee-Schroder and Shaeffer Georgiou, shared the Bronze medal. A winning performance placed VASK’s Danielle Ceronio and Stella Heyns in the Bronze realm.  Kovsie Fencing’s Kayla de Gouveid shared the spot with Stella as a bronze recipient.

It was a clash of the titans as 27 participants formed opposing teams. The University of the Free State (UFS) team, who hosted the competition, showed the guests no sign of mercy as they triumphed.

Wanda was impressed by the UFS’s performance. “The students performed very well, especially considering that most of them started fencing just this year.”

“Willem Brink, who finished with gold, started fencing in 2012.  He finished with a Bronze medal at the Free State Closed competition held earlier, in May 2015 The first fencer to reach 15 wins,” said the Kovsie Fencing representative.

The club will represent our university at the University of Pretoria (TUKS) Open where fencers from the entire country will compete on 25 and 26 September 2015.  The club is also preparing for the University Sports South Africa (USSA) tournament and the Limpopo Open that take place in November and December, respectively. These competitions serve to pave the way for the July 2016 nationals, where Kovsies hope to make their mark as champions.

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