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Travel Scholarships

Travel Scholarship Recipients

6th International Prader-Willi Syndrome Caregivers’ Conference

Berlin, Germany, 21-23 May 2024

In order to share knowledge about Prader-Willi Syndrome (PWS) around the world, IPWSO is delighted to offer a limited number of travel scholarships to people who wish to attend the 6th International PWS Caregivers’ Conference but who could not do so without financial support. This scheme is sponsored by Friends of IPWSO (USA), a non-profit organisation.

The deadline for applications was in early February. We were pleased to confirm support for 4 conference delegates from around the world.

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    Maria Benedekova
    PWS Slovakia, German/English to Slovak Translator, Slovakia

    I am a freelance translator of German and English to Slovak language. My hometown is Košice, the second biggest town in Slovakia, with population of about 250,000 people. In 2006, I was one of the founding members of the PWS organization in Slovakia.

    I am a mother of a 22-year-old son Tomas who has PWS. After completing his education in 2022, Tomas started attending a day care center for individuals with special needs in our hometown where my husband works as a care provider.

    At the conference in Berlin I hope to collect some tips about daily routine for young adults with PWS living in a residential setting that we could use in the day center our son visits. There are two more young adults with PWS visiting this facility. I hope to hear about some approaches from experienced professional care providers who work with young adults with PWS on how to schedule their day, keep them focused and how to respond to their behavior challenges.

    Bjørn Christensen
    Regional Service Manager, Community Connections, New Zealand

    My name is Bjørn Christensen and I am very excited to be a part of this year’s conference in Berlin. I work for an organisation called Community Connections and I have spent the last four and a half years managing a service for an amazing woman named Francie, who lives here in Wellington, New Zealand. There are many complexities and nuances involved in providing a successful service for someone living with Prader Willi Syndrome. With Aotearoa (New Zealand) being a smaller nation, we are in some ways isolated with information sharing when it comes to best practice. I am very proud of the work that I have been able to do alongside Francie but I am always seeking ways to improve. It is my hope from this conference that I will be able to establish connections, learn new strategies and come away with a greater understanding of what other communities are doing around the world to provide safe, happy and exceptional support for some with Prader Willi. I also want to bring this knowledge home to Wellington and share this with our team.

    Saoirse Kavanagh
    Trinity College Dublin, Ireland

    Saoirse is an Assistant Psychologist from Dublin, Ireland who completed a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology at Maynooth University and went on to complete a Masters in Applied Psychology at Trinity College Dublin. During her studies, Saoirse collaborated with the Prader-Willi Syndrome Association Ireland and carried out 2 research projects investigating the well-being of siblings of individuals with Prader-Willi syndrome, shedding light on their individual experiences.

    Being selected as a recipient of this grant is a tremendous honor for me. It acknowledges my commitment and contributions to the field of Prader-Willi syndrome research and caregiving. As a travel grant recipient, I have the invaluable opportunity to attend the conference, engage with leading experts, participate in discussions, and network with peers from around the world. This experience will not only enhance my knowledge and understanding of the condition but also enable me to exchange ideas, collaborate on initiatives, and ultimately make meaningful contributions toward improving the lives of individuals affected by Prader-Willi syndrome.

    Van Dinh Thi Thanh
    Psychologist, Morning Star Institute, Vietnam

    I am Van, a psychologist from Vietnam. I have been working for 7 years in a clinic at Morning Star Center, a center for children with intellectual disabilities in Vietnam and I provide assessment for children with intellectual disabilities, including children with PWS and provide consultancy to their families. 

    I hope to improve my knoweldge about PWS and update new methods of intervention for people with PWS as well as meet and learn more from care-givers and professionals who support people with PWS around the world.

    Dr. Paula Arce Sanz
    Dietician Nutritionist, Asociación Colombiana Síndrome de Prader-Willi, Colombia

    Paula Arce Sanz is Medical Director of the Colombian SPW Association and a Dietitian Nutritionist from the Catholic University of Manizales. She has a diploma in Pediatric Clinical Nutrition at the Favarolo University in Buenos Aires (Argentina) and at the Javeriana University (Colombia). Master in Pediatric Clinical Nutrition at the University of Granada (Spain). 14 years of experience in Maternal and Child care. Certified in Pediatric Nutritional Support. Certified in Pediatric Nutritional Support. Benutrition Cali Manager.


    Depending on availability of funds, IPWSO offers scholarships to attend our conferences. Contact us to keep up to date with conferences, workshops, meetings, and scholarship grants.

    Future conferences

    Has your Association thought about hosting an IPWSO conference? In the past these have been held in the Netherlands, Norway, Italy, USA, New Zealand, Romania, Taiwan, UK, Canada, Cuba and most recently Ireland. In 2025 we are delighted to be returning to the USA.

    If your association is interested in hosting a future conference do get in touch.

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