South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust health visitor Carolyn Taylor has been awarded a bursary to do voluntary work with the charity she founded in one of the poorest countries in the world.
Ms Taylor has worked as a health visitor for 40 years. She initially visited Mityana, a town surrounded by villages in the central region of Uganda, in 2000, through her links with the Scouting movement.
In 2007, she set up the Mityana Community Development Foundation and the charity now runs a community primary school for 500 pupils, as well as a community centre with internet café, library, adult literacy classes and a credit union.
Ms Taylor was given the 2015 MacQueen Travel Bursary for Public Health Activity Abroad.
She said she would use the £2,000 bursary to pay for more flights to Uganda. While there, she aims provide breastfeeding education and support and begin training local health trainers in all aspects of public health to enable them to help their communities.
Ms Taylor said: “I am honoured to have been presented with the MacQueen Travel Bursary. All of the charity’s directors, like myself, are volunteers. Our visits are self-financed and we need to raise around £10,000 a year for running costs.
“I normally go to Mityana twice a year and I know the people there so well now that they’re like family,” she said. “It is fantastic to see what a difference we can make to their lives. I am also delighted to be able to use my knowledge and skills to further improve their health.”
Her charity welcomes donations of items, such as toothbrushes, pencils and pens. People can also sponsor animals and vital water filters to provide clean water.