Brighton graduate who lost both parents to AIDS awarded grant from Elton John AIDS Foundation

University of Brighton alumna receives $50,000 from Elton John AIDS Foundation to improve access to HIV care and education for youth in Uganda.

Caroline Mukebezi, who graduated with a Master’s degree in Health Promotion from the University’s School of Sports and Health Sciences, was awarded the grant for her project aimed at improving access to HIV response for vulnerable people – especially adolescents and young girls – in her native Uganda.

With support from the Elton John AIDS Foundation (EJAF), the organisation founded by Caroline, Pathway Foundation for Health and Economic Empowerment (PFHEE), will run a two-year project working with community health institutions and local leaders to improve access to HIV testing, reduce stigma associated with the disease and build the capacity of health workers through training and workshops.

While studying at Brighton, Caroline was a beneficiary of the University of Brighton Forward Bound Scholarship which has supported Health Promotion MSc applicants from low or lower-middle income countries since 2015. The award provides educational funding for health and other professionals who are employed or volunteer in roles where they will be able to influence and shape health promotion practice and policy on their return.

Caroline said: “I wouldn’t have been able to do all these things if not for the Forward Bound scholarship, which made it possible for me to come to Brighton to get all this knowledge. The chance to learn, to study and then use that knowledge and put it into practise has greatly impacted me and brought a lot of other opportunities. It has been truly life changing and I don’t take it for granted.”

“I am excited for the many young girls and boys in Uganda who will benefit from our work thanks to this grant from the Elton John AIDS Foundation. With these funds, we will improve access to HIV/AIDS and Sexual Reproductive Health Rights services. We will also focus on providing mental health support for people living with HIV/AIDS while building the capacity of other local organisations to offer such services”.

Caroline lost her father to HIV/AIDS when she was six years old, and her mother to the same disease years later. In Uganda, limited access to health information and care contribute to high number of HIV-related deaths annually.

Caroline continued: “Losing my parents at an early age, due to our inability to afford treatment and the strained quality of care they received, formed my resolve to significantly contribute to improving the experience of other people living with the disease. University of Brighton gave me the knowledge and skills to translate this passion to support people into a real-life organization, taking into consideration the local context and the policies and laws in my country.”

About the Forward Bound Scholarship

The Forward Bound scholarship is available to Health Promotion MSc applicants from low or lower-middle income countries where similar postgraduate education opportunities are not available. It is intended to support health and other professionals who are employed or who volunteer in roles where they will be able to influence health promotion practice and policy on their return.

The core objective of the scholarship is to empower recipients to use the knowledge and experience they gain from their Masters to return to their country of origin and make a tangible difference to communities through health promotion in a professional and/or voluntary capacity.

The scholarship will fund course fees, travel costs, accommodation, visa, subsistence and health insurance for 12 months – equivalent to a cost of £28,000.

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