International Office Blog

News and information from the International Office at the University of Brighton

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

One of our alumni has received a $50,000 grant from the Elton John AIDS Foundation to improve access to HIV care and education in Uganda.

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

Brighton grad student Caroline Mukebezi

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 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.”

During a BBC Radio Sussex interview with Caroline, she spoke about the impact of her parents’ HIV Aids diagnosis: “It was something I can never really forget and it has stayed with me.”

Despite the challenges Caroline has faced with losing both parents to the disease, she reflects on her personal story: “I would wonder why it had to be me to go through such a journey. Everyone’s [journey] is different… but I am glad I could pick the bits of my story and speak about how we can help people who are going through this type of condition, who need that support like my mum and dad would have needed.”

She also talked about her time in Brighton and the UK, where the attitudes towards HIV Aids are a world away from her own experience back home.

“Because I was so passionate, I got the opportunity to work with organisations that were supporting people with HIV Aids.

“The experience was different. People were open to speak about their HIV Aids statuses – it was really surprising. There is so much to learn from here and there is so much I could take back [to] my country.”

Her inspirational work with Pathway Foundation for Health and Economic Empowerment (PFHEE) is a testament to Caroline’s determination to make Uganda a better place for those living with HIV Aids.

“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.”

Congratulations Caroline on receiving this grant, we are excited to see what you do next and the impact this work will have in Uganda.

AlumniawardCultureElton John AIDS FoundationGrant awardHealth Promotioninternationalinternational studentpostgraduatestudentstudent experienceUniversity of Brighton

Clare Cornwell • April 16, 2024

Previous Post

Next Post

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published / Required fields are marked *

Skip to toolbar