Lucia Lekgogola, a disabled second year student at University of Limpopo (UL) is looking forward to being a lot more mobile after the institution presented her with modern electric wheelchair last Thursday.
The wheelchair will enable Lekgogola to manoeuvre her way around the campus without hassle and no longer having to endure the daily challenge of looking for someone to push her around.
The 21-year-old has been using a manual wheelchair for the past seven years and always had to ask someone to push her. “I was one of few disabled students on campus who did not have an electric wheelchair. I want to thank the UL management and Reakgona Disability Centre (RDC) for having recognised my needs. I know I will never be late for lectures again,” Lekgogola, who is enrolled for a BA degree majoring in Criminology and Psychology, reportedly said.
She is also quoted to have said that the chair felt all comfortable and would help her negotiate her way to and from lectures and residence, as well as allow her to travel for distances or over terrain that would be fatiguing in a manual wheelchair.
The donation was part of the University’s objective to buttress its offerings and social activities through RDC, one of South Africa’s disability units in the Higher Education sector that has the largest number of students with disabilities.
UL Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Teaching and Learning, Richard Madadzhe is quoted to have said the gesture was the university’s effort to improve learning and social experiences of students living with disabilities. “In spite of these impressive achievements, many students with disabilities still encounter numerous challenges such as lack of assistive devices such laptops, spectacles and wheelchairs, because most of them come from poverty-stricken families.”
Madadzhe highlighted that the university, where possible, assists students to acquire the necessary assistive devices. “It is our hope that the wheelchair will go a long way in assisting the beneficiary to attain success in her studies and alleviate the physical difficulties that she encounters on a daily basis,” he stated.
Ntungu Mutele, RDC Orientation and Mobility Practitioner, said that one of the centre’s mandates was to ensure that all students living with disabilities receive assistive devices and the university has always prioritised the needs of students living with disabilities to ease their stay at UL.
William Jowga, Deputy Chairperson of Disability Students Organisation (DSO) at UL, added that their organisation highly appreciates the university’s kind gesture, which accord students living with disabilities the much-needed freedom of movement.
Story: Herbert Rachuene