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Harrison Teen Gets Award For Funding Education For Children In Africa

Mary Grace Henry with a student in Africa.
Mary Grace Henry with a student in Africa. Photo Credit:

HARRISON, Conn. – Mary Grace Henry, a Harrison resident and student at the Convent of the Sacred Heart in Greenwich, has recently been presented with the World of Children Award for providing education to children in Sub-Saharan Africa.

At the age of 12, Henry became appalled after learning that many young girls in Africa were being forced into early marriage. So, she decided to raise money to fund education for children there.

Armed with a new sewing machine, she began designing and selling reversible headbands, which quickly sold out at the school bookstore. For Henry, it was the first step in what she calls “reversing the course.”

She used that term to name the foundation she later started along with a business.

Now at age 17, Henry has designed more than 200 accessories and sold more than 11,000 items – funding years of education for 45 girls who live in extreme poverty, primarily from Uganda and Kenya. The money pays for funding tuition, boarding fees, uniforms, testing and textbooks. Henry is now in the process of contracting out the manufacturing of the accessories. One hundred percent of the profits from her business go directly to the Reverse the Course Foundation.

“I am humbled to be honored by World of Children Award, and greatly appreciate the opportunity to connect with so many leading individuals, as we work to make this world a better place,” Henry said. “What started as one goal to send one girl to school has grown into a movement, and with your continued help and support, the sky is the limit and, together, we can reverse the course of their lives.” A two-year $35,000 grant from World of Children Award will support Reverse the Course’s mission to fund education and programs that include social services, apprenticeships, and mentoring. “Mary Grace is an amazing young woman who has been motivated to help vulnerable children around the globe since a very young age,” said Harry Leibowitz and Kay Isaacson-Leibowitz, World of Children Award co-founders. “She emulates the values of World of Children Award and is an inspiration to young women showing them that creativity and determination can go a long way.”

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