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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

CDS receives another international grant from the NIH
2015-12-11

 

Dr Carla Sharp

The Centre for Development Support (CDS) is partner to another international research grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in the United States. The new project follows an earlier project funded by the NIH, which focused on the mental health of orphans and vulnerable children.

The new project is to focus on investigating possible improvements in the mental health and cognitive development of orphaned and vulnerable children aged between seven and eleven years, by means of improved community-based care in the Mangaung Township area in Bloemfontein.  The project will stretch over three years and has a budget of approximately R10 million.

“We shall use the Mediational Intervention of Sensitizing Caregivers (MISC) approach and it will be applied by community-based organisations,” says Dr Deidre van Rooyen, Acting Director of the CDS. 

MISC applied by caregivers has produced good results elsewhere in the world. “This is the first time MISC will be tested by community-based organisations,” says Prof Lochner Marais of the CDS, who is also the principal investigator in South Africa.

“In addition to working with four community-based organisations in Mangaung, Childline Free State will also be actively involved in the project,” Marais added.

The project is being conducted in collaboration with Dr Carla Sharp as principal investigator at the University of Houston, and Prof Michael Boivin (an international expert on MISC) at the Michigan State University. Dr Sharp was recently appointed visiting professor at the CDS. 

“It is indeed a great privilege to be working with the CDS on yet another project,” Dr Sharp remarked, also noting that “the project is preliminary in nature and could evolve into a much bigger research project in future”.

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