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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

Statement by Judge Faan Hancke, Chairperson of the Council of the University of the Free State (UFS)
2008-03-08

The Council of the University of the Free State today (Friday, 7 March 2008) unanimously condemned the offensive and racist Reitz video in the strongest possible terms.

Council further labeled the video as an insult to women, to older persons and to poor working people who are defenseless and vulnerable and expressed its disgust at the action of the students concerned.

Council also apologised unreservedly and sincerely to the five UFS employees who were shown in the video and offered all emotional and counselling assistance necessary as well as in the current criminal matter under way or possible civil action they may undertake.

At the same time the university must also provide counseling to current first year students of Reitz who were not present at the time of the filming of the video.

Council also mandated the management, in addition to the other disciplinary steps under way, to consider the possibility of closure and of conversion of Reitz into a beacon of transformation, hope and liberation (either as a residence or in some other form).

This must take place in accordance with due process of the law to give residents and other stakeholders reasonable opportunity to make submissions so that all relevant considerations can be taken into account.

The Council expressed its full confidence in the management and supported the steps taken by management thus far under trying circumstances concerning transformation, residence integration, the Reitz video and the vandalism of the campus.

It reaffirmed the decision taken in June 2007 to increase diversity in student residences and recommitted the UFS to implement the policy.

The Council condemns all forms of racism and committed itself to eradicate racism and racial prejudice in any form and from any quarter on the UFS campus.

The meeting also approved the appointment of an external expert agency to assist the university in:

  • understanding and identifying the current challenges relating to the implementation of the integration policy 
  • supporting the university management and making recommendations on how to enhance the process of implementation

The intention is to provide additional capacity to the management in order to accelerate the transformation and integration process.

It called on management to take firm action against any staff or student who violates the law, is involved in threats, racism, disruptions, intimidation and vandalism and condemned these actions in the strongest possible terms.

The Council reassured all staff, students, parents and other stakeholders that firm action will be taken against persons who are guilty of disorderly conduct, intimidation, disruption or similar actions with the full force of the law.

The management was requested to maintain law and order so as to create a conducive environment in which academic excellence can be furthered. The Council appreciates the steps that have been taken in this regard.

The Council supported a management initiative to investigate the fundamental issues underlying many of the current problems in residences, including:

  • residence culture, including initiation, as well as race, racialism and racism
  • alcohol and drug abuse role,
  • place, organisation and management of residences constitution of student structures
  • and the role of political parties in student politics and structures
  • the physical structure of residences as part of a campus accommodation strategy

The Council agreed that social cohesion and racial tolerance will be highlighted as a strong theme in the academic cluster initiatives of the UFS and that management should find additional ways to strengthen existing programmes regarding diversity on the campus among all staff and students.

The Council called on all stakeholders to honour the high values of the Constitution of the country, to maintain these values and to further them in an orderly and peaceful environment.

Media Release
Issued by: Anton Fisher
Director: Strategic Communication
Tel: 051 401 3422
Cell: 072 207 8334
E-mail: fishera.stg@ufs.ac.za
7 March 2008

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