Students living with disabilities celebrate milestone
Disability is simply a medical term. This is according to some of the 104 students living with disabilities on the Mafikeng Campus who attended a gala dinner on 27 October 2014 to celebrate their achievements.
Students with different disabilities (including visual, physical, hearing, psychosocial and learning impairments) attended the dinner together with Dr Mamolahluwa Mokoena, the director of the Academic Development Centre, the Campus Student Representative Council and the Campus Choir.
The keynote speaker, Mr Lawrence Lenyora, urged those living with disabilities to speak out and share their needs and wants with their friends. He stressed that a person with a disability is no different from an able person. “We all have goals, dreams, desires and we all are human," he said.
According to Ms Vida Mutlanentheng, the academic advisor for disabilities from the Disability Unit, some disabled students do not register at the unit due to the stigma and the fear of being discriminated against. The unit has also adopted three organisations to cultivate a culture of giving amongst disabled students.
“We've adopted the Feel At Home Disability Centre in Montshioa, a primary school on the outskirts of Mafikeng and Operation Blanket. Together with our students we collect and donate food stuff and used clothes to these organisations," says Vida.
Moving the Disability Unit from Student Affairs to the Academic Development Centre has indeed paid off. The centre has the necessary technology to assist students with disabilities and thereby enhancing their performance.
The unit attributes its ability to overcome challenges to the support received from their colleagues and from the Vice-Chancellor, Prof Dan Kgwadi, who is passionate about people with disabilities.
The Carl & Emily Fuchs Foundation, an organisation funding disability units at tertiary institutions in South Africa, has also been a great help to the unit.