At the age of 12, Mary Grace Henry became determined to change the life of an underprivileged girl by funding her education. She started by teaching herself how to make reversible headbands with a plan to sell them at her school’s bookstore, using 100% of the profits to send girls living in extreme poverty to school. Soon, she had raised enough to send one girl to school. But she knew that she couldn’t stop there: so many other girls still did not have access to education.
“The greatest obstacle to education faced by both girls and boys is poverty,” Mary Grace said. “Girls, though, face a second hurdle that is far more difficult to address: their culture. In many countries throughout the world, girls are viewed as having not just lesser value than boys, but often devastatingly little or no value.”
This means that girls are often shut out from educational opportunities since families believe it is better to invest in sons who will remain with them than in daughters who will join their husbands’ families.
“Educating a girl can reverse the course of her life, change the course of a community…and a country,” Mary Grace said.
Mary Grace’s program, Reverse The Course, is a successful social business that has sold over 14,000 hair accessories and funded the education of girls in Kenya, Uganda, Paraguay and Haiti. Without Mary Grace’s support, these girls would not have been able to attend school.
Funding from World of Children will support Reverse The Course’s mission to provide education for disenfranchised girls and develop business training and mentoring programs for girls, empowering them to become agents of positive change in their communities.
EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: In anticipation of honoring Mary Grace at our 2014 Awards Ceremony on November 6, we had the chance to get an exclusive interview with this inspiring young woman.
“I realized that the very best tool that would give someone a real chance was one she could use to pursue her own dreams: an education,” Mary Grace said. Read the Q&A here »