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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

Prof Loyiso Jita appointed as UFS Dean of Education
2017-11-22

 Description: Prof Melanie Walker, Research chair into Higher Education gets boost for five more years Tags: Prof Melanie Walker, Research chair into Higher Education gets boost for five more years

Prof Loyiso Jita, UFS Dean of Education
Photo: Johan Roux

The Council of the University of the Free State (UFS) has approved the appointment of Prof Loyiso Jita as Dean of Education during its quarterly meeting held on the Bloemfontein Campus on 17 November 2017.

“Prof Jita has a strong academic background and a good understanding of the higher-education sector. I look forward to working with him and to realise the vision of the university as a research-led, student-centred and regionally engaged university that contributes to development and social justice through the production of globally competitive graduates and knowledge,” says Prof Francis Petersen, UFS Rector and Vice-Chancellor.

“It is indeed a privilege for me to lead a team of committed teachers and researchers in the faculty, providing excellent service to our undergraduate and postgraduate students. I thank the Council and executive management for their trust in me,” says Prof Jita.

In January 2017, Prof Jita was appointed as the Acting Dean of the Faculty of Education at the UFS. He will assume the position of Dean of the Faculty of Education on 1 December 2017.

Prof Jita began his career as a Science and Mathematics teacher, after graduating from Wits University in 1988. He later took up a lectureship position at the University of Zululand, where he was awarded a Fulbright scholarship to read for a PhD at Michigan State University in the USA. In the mid-1990s, he worked as a policy researcher at the University of KwaZulu-Natal where he, among others, helped to compile the submission on the Violation of Educational Rights of South Africans during apartheid, to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC).

He joined the University of Pretoria (UP) in 2001, after returning from a post-doctoral fellowship at the Northwestern University in Chicago, and was later appointed Director of the Joint Centre for Science, Mathematics and Technology Education (JCSMTE). He left the UP in 2008 for an appointment as an associate professor at the University of South Africa (Unisa), where he later became the inaugural Director of the School of Education. In 2011, he became a full professor and was appointed as the acting Deputy Executive Dean in the College of Human Sciences at Unisa.

In 2012, he joined the UFS as Research Professor in the School of Mathematics, Natural Sciences, and Technology Education. In November 2014, he was appointed as the SANRAL Chair for Science and Mathematics Education. Professor Jita has published many articles on instructional leadership, teacher development and change, Science and Mathematics education, and has presented over 50 papers at local and international conferences. He has also supervised to completion more than 37 master’s and PhD graduates, and is currently the editor-in-chief for the accredited journal, Perspectives in Education (PIE).

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