NSFAS lends a help­ing hand

Vuk'uzenzele - - Egdeunceartaioln - More Mat­shediso

STU­DENTS WITH the will to suc­ceed de­spite their dis­abil­i­ties have been given a help­ing hand.

Acar ac­ci­dent when he was a child left Gift Ma­suku’s left arm paral­ysed. De­spite this, the 23-year-old from Sekhukhune in Mpumalanga is a suc­cess­ful third-year BSc stu­dent at the Uni­ver­sity of Venda.

“The dis­abil­ity has al­ways af­fected my stud­ies. For in­stance, when I do my prac­ti­cal as­sign­ments, I need help han­dling the equip­ment that we use,” he said.

His stud­ies also re­quire him to type as­sign­ments and do re­search. This means that he needs to make use of a com­puter or lap­top.

“I tend to work slowly when I am in a com­puter lab be­cause I use one hand to type,” he said, ex­plain­ing that this of­ten meant he fell be­hind in his work.

Life be­came con­sid­er­ably eas­ier for Ma­suku when he re­ceived a lap­top of his own. He was among the 74 stu­dents liv­ing with dis­abil­i­ties who re­ceived as­sis­tive de­vices from the Na­tional Stu­dent Fi­nan­cial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) and the Uni­ver­sity of Venda.

NSFAS said this was the first as­sis­tive de­vices han­dover. It was an ini­tia­tive of the NSFAS Dis­abil­ity Bur­sary Pro­gramme.

The pro­gramme pro­vides fi­nan­cial sup­port to stu­dents with dis­abil­i­ties who need fi­nan­cial aid and pos­sess the abil­ity to pass their aca­demic sub­jects.

The scheme has funded 2 915 stu­dents liv­ing with dis­abil­ity across all 26 uni­ver­si­ties and 50 TVET col­leges in South Africa.

Ac­cord­ing to NSFAS, the Uni­ver­sity of Venda is one of the in­sti­tu­tions that has the high­est num­ber of stu­dents liv­ing with dis­abil­ity.

The uni­ver­sity’s Dis­abled Stu­dents Unit has 192 stu­dents with var­i­ous dis­abil­i­ties who reg­is­tered for aca­demic sup­port.

Dur­ing the 2018 aca­demic year, the unit worked closely with NSFAS to pur­chase de­vices for 74 of the reg­is­tered stu­dents.

Gift Ma­suku us­ing his new lap­top do­nated by NSFAS and the Uni­ver­sity of Venda.

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