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Community builders honoured at Community Engagement Awards
2016-10-13

Description: "06 -10-2016 Comm Engagement Awards Read More Tags: Comm Engagement Awards

Photo: Charl Devenish

The office of Community Engagement held its annual Community Engagement Awards at the University of the Free State (UFS) on 5 October 2016. This year, the ceremony celebrated people who gave themselves selflessly to improve the lives of those around them who are less privileged. Key players in various sectors of society were recognised and honoured for their contribution and commitment towards a common good.

Dr Richard Teare, president of the Global University for Lifelong Learning (GULL), was the keynote speaker at the ceremony. GULL, a non-profit foundation, operates across the world, providing access to lifelong learning for communities, giving each individual an opportunity to make a difference in their world. Dr Teare talked of places that lack the provision and infrastructure to access higher education and said that through community service programmes, social and economic development was enhanced, and the necessary expertise and resources were provided to drive a community towards a greater good. “Community engagement espouses academic excellence—it enables people to discover their full potential.”

Through its partnership with GULL, the University of Free State has worked with women from Bloem Shelter, an organisation that provides assistance to underprivileged women and children from diverse walks of life. The women were equipped with the necessary skills and knowledge they needed to become self-sufficient - an experience that has yielded positive, constructive change in the women’s lives. 

The awards also acknowledged the boldness and innovative support of members of the Free State community in their various sectors. Among those awarded was Dr Choice Makhetha for her contribution in building capacity for those involved in community service programmes. She also designed and created approaches to improve situations in schools, churches, community organisations and small businesses. Also presented with an award was Dr Dipane Hlalele of the Qwaqwa Campus for his role as principal investigator in two National Research Foundation (NRF) -funded projects; Rural Relational Leadership and Sustainable Rural and Urban Connection. The ICT Innovation in School Education division of the South Campus was also recognised for its Internet Broadcast Project (IBP), which provides lessons on different subjects to 72 000 learners and 3 000 teachers each week.

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