UP and BEE Chamber explore expanded collaboration for students with disabilities

Posted on May 26, 2024

The University of Pretoria (UP) recently hosted representatives from the BEE Chamber to discuss the milestones achieved in their four-year partnership and to explore new symbiotic possibilities for expanding support to more students, particularly those with disabilities.

Since the partnership's inception in November 2021 with an initial donation of R233 892 the collaboration between UP and the BEE Chamber has flourished, marked by significant achievements. Contributions from 24 sub-funders have amassed a total of at least R12 million, significantly impacting students across various disciplines, predominantly in engineering, health sciences, and commerce.

The support from the BEE Chamber has evolved over time, with many donors now providing full bursaries in addition to funding tuition. Some donors have also begun to cover outstanding student debts, enabling students to continue their studies and receive their results upon graduation.

During the recent meeting, the BEE Chamber’s Bursary Manager, Ros Nightingale, along with Bursary Liaison Officer Chidozie Cosmas, COO Mariana Daffue, and CFO Yuneal Padayachy, engaged in fruitful discussions with UP representatives, including Rikus Delport, Director of the Department of Institutional Advancement, and Josiah Mavundla, Senior Manager of Advancement and Database.

"We had a very productive face-to-face meeting with Ella Nyakunu and her colleagues," Nightingale said. "We discussed various opportunities for further collaboration, particularly in supporting students with disabilities, enhancing work readiness programmes, and exploring BEE Chamber Membership opportunities."

Reflecting on the partnership, Delport highlighted the positive impact of the BEE Chamber’s contributions. "The support from the BEE Chamber has enabled numerous students to pursue their academic dreams and overcome financial barriers. We are excited about the potential to expand this support to more students, especially those with disabilities, ensuring they have the resources and opportunities needed to succeed."

As the University of Pretoria and the BEE Chamber continue to strengthen their partnership, the focus remains on creating inclusive and impactful educational opportunities for all students. This collaborative effort not only benefits the students but also contributes to the broader goal of fostering a more equitable and educated society.

The meeting also included a campus tour led by Gugulethu Ndhlovu from Campus Tours, providing the guests with an enriching experience of UP’s cultural and historical heritage.

"We explored the museum located within the Old Arts building, which houses notable collections such as the Mapungubwe ceramic collection and the Van Til Berg ceramic and furniture collection," Ndhlovu said. "Additionally, we visited the Javett Art Centre, where the guests admired the new exhibition, 'Homage to Pretoria,' and the Mapungubwe Gold collection. I also provided historical context about the Old Arts building, a National Monument that influenced the architectural style of the Union Building, and the Old Merensky building, which inspired the design of the Voortrekker Monument."

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