Country of Origin:
Citizenship, Immigration, Black History/African Heritage, Racism/Discrimination, Human Rights & Social Justice, Identity & Heritage, Multiculturalism & Diversity, Adjusting to Life in Canada
Henry is an author and a youth speaker.
He has appeared on TV, Podcast and Radio to share his story and ideas.
He is also a TEDx Speaker and a volunteer mentor with the Yonge Street Mission.
Henry has a BA with a major in Economics from University of Windsor.
He is from West Africa and he believes that we are more alike than we are different.
Born in a poor little village in Africa to two unwed teenagers, my parents were too young so they couldn’t take care of me. I was then adopted my authoritarian grandfather living in this poor little village where we had no electricity, no indoor bumping with little to no hope of a better life despite harboring a dream for a better life and a better future.
When I was about 7 or 8, my grandfather, a farmer who never went to school but is very passionate about education. He decided to send me to a private primary school in the city even though we didn’t know where they tuition fee was going to come from. While in private school; I struggled academically because I couldn’t read and my grand father tried to teach me but I couldn't get it. I was always standing in front of the classroom and getting punished because I couldn’t read. But it got to a point, I got tired of the punishment and the embarrassment. So started staring in the Bible, books and newspapers trying to read them daily even though I couldn’t read. I did that enough that God saw my struggle and made it happened. I started reading (it was a shocker to my teacher) It happened like a magic trick that I still can’t explain it till this day.
While in the city, life was hard. We went some days with no food and no light since we didn't have any electricity at the home. We couldn’t afford even the cheapest candle light to study or see with at night. 6 people slept in one bedroom, with only one bed frame with no mattress but only two mats (one on the floor and one on the bed frame). 6 people shared one towel. The roof of the room sometimes leaks during a heavy rain, which means we sometimes pile ourselves in one corner so that we don’t get wet yet we had no water to shower or drink some days, a bit ironic lol. Despite the struggle, I never gave up because I had a dream and a hop for a better future. Besides, my grandfather gave no potions.
I graduated from that school and ended back in the village because my grandfather couldn’t afford a school in the city. Fortunately, 4 year later God opened a way and I got admission into a private high school in the city with the help of my father. I graduated high school in 20008. Then got a visa to Canada with the help of my father in 2010. For the first time seeing snow and not knowing what it was. In the same year I got admission into a university where I majored in Economics and graduated in 2014. A week after my graduation I started working for a bank in Toronto. But I was feeling unfulfilled with my banking job; partly because I knew my passion lies somewhere else. My passion lies in speaking to people and impacting them positively with my story and message. I wanted to do for other what my grand father did for me. I wanted to be a global voice of hope, because it been said when there's hope in the future that gives you power in the present. Thus, in the late 2015 I took the bold step to pursue my true passion.
In August of 2016 I published my first book called “Stand Up, Stand Out & Be Confident” (www.amazon.com/author/henryagassi). I am now pursing my dream of empowering people but most especially the youth to interrupt the negative thoughts in their minds and give them the courage to pursue their passion/dream regardless of their circumstances.