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30 September 2020 | Story Nitha Ramnath | Photo Supplied
SWSA represented by Mariné du Toit (left) and Lyshea Mapaike(right) at the handover of the funds raised

Sunflower Children’s Hospice, situated on the ground floor of the National District Hospital, is a non-profit organisation that provides care and compassion for all children with life-threatening and life-limiting conditions. As far as possible, the hospice aims to keep children within their families and communities, with relevant supervision and support.  However, the hospice is also a permanent residence to many children.

At Sunflower Children’s Hospice, children and their families are provided with:
• palliative care, including pain and symptom management;
• quality of life;
• relief of suffering;
• support for child and family/guardians;
• developmental stimulation;
• support during the bereavement period;
• dignity in death;
• community participation; and
• relevant training.

Due to limited funds, the hospice experiences many financial challenges, which motivated the Social Work Student Association (SWSA) to become involved. Their involvement led to the establishment of the ‘#Adoptaflower’ project by raising funds for the organisation and getting more Social Work students to spend time with the children, as they do not have enough caregivers at the house to give them the special personal attention that they need.  This project was spearheaded by Mariné du Toit, Portfolio Head: Community Upliftment of the SWSA. 

The fundraising initiative collected R1 300 from selling raffle tickets to the university community.  Due to COVID-19 and the lockdown period, it became impossible to proceed with the intention of the Social Work students to spend more time with the children.  

Besides Social Work students not being able to proceed with their intention of interacting more closely with the children concerned, the lockdown unfortunately also affected it negatively in other areas.  The hospice needs assistance with clothes, toiletries, and groceries. Sunflower House therefore needs funds and sponsors to continue providing services to so many children in need of care and support. For more information regarding public involvement, 051 448 3813 is the number to call. 

News Archive

#Women’sMonth: A career in Sign Language interpreting proves to be full of rewards for Natasha Parkins-Maliko
2017-08-03

 Description: Natasha Parkins-Maliko new Tags: Natasha Parkins-Maliko new 

Natasha Parkins-Maliko. She
was recently awarded the Pansalb
Multilingual Award in the category:
Translation and Interpreting 2016/2017,
as recognition for her achievements
in a sixteen-year career.
Photo: Supplied

Natasha Parkins-Maliko is an alumna of the University of the Free State who graduated with a master’s in Linguistics. She is a well-rounded interpreter with a language combination of South African Sign Language-English-Afrikaans. She continued her studies and achieved an international master’s in Sign Language interpreting at the Humak University of Applied Sciences in Finland.  Natasha was recently presented with the Pansalb Multilingual Award in the category: Translation and Interpreting 2016/2017, as recognition for her achievements in a sixteen-year career.

“Winning the Pansalb Translation and Interpreting Award for 2016/2017, was for me as Kovsie a pat on the back in the true sense of the word.  The university is where I started my journey in South African Sign Language interpreting, and from then on, I never looked back,” she said.

Her interpreting career has provided many challenges, and was accompanied by great achievements along the way.

A career of fulfilment in Sign Language

“The foundation of my success was laid by my lecturers and mentors, such as Dr Philemon Akach and Emily Matabane, where I trained in the Department of South African Sign Language (SASL) at the university.”

“My determination and success is grounded in the motto, ‘Inspiring Excellence, Transforming Lives’ – a continued journey in excellence gives a renewed sense of pride for all language practitioners in South Africa,” she said.

Natasha went on to work in the deaf community for most of her career. She started as a grassroots interpreter, and is now a professional interpreter registered with SATI (South African Translators Institute). She is also a Sign Language television interpreter on SABC for content such as SABC 3 news bulletins, the budget speech, opening of Parliament, Youth Day broadcasts, January 8th statement broadcasts, MPC Reserve Bank speeches, and many more. Natasha is not only concerned with growing her career – despite her mover and shaker persona, she still takes time to volunteer her services for deaf people who do not have the financial ability to pay for interpreting.

“Winning the Pansalb Translation and
Interpreting Award for 2016/2017, was
for me as Kovsie a pat on the back in
the true sense of the word.”

The journey to excellence never stops
Over and above lecturing in Interpreting and Translation at Wits University, Natasha is still in pursuit of excellence. She is a PhD candidate in the SASL Interpreting programme at Wits University, the first of its kind in the country, and is pursuing an AIIC (International Association of Conference Interpreters) accreditation. Her aim is to put South African Sign Language interpretation on the global map.

As a role model and icon in her field, Natasha is the chairperson of the National Association of South African Sign Language Interpreters (NASASLI), the regional coordinator for the African Federation of Sign Language Interpreters (AFSLI), and the Africa regional representative on the board of the World Association of Sign Language Interpreters (WASLI).  The award presented to her is no doubt a fitting accolade and something all UFS alumni takes pride in.

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