Friday, July 25, 2014

The Boy who harnessed the wind | William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer

Now here is an inspiring story. A young boy called William (born 1987), living in Malawi saw first hand the devastating effects of the famines that hit during his childhood. He was too poor to go to school so he read the books in the town's library. A series of science and engineering books had been donated from America. He studied there and learned about windmills, something he had never seen in Malawi.
He decided to build a windmill  by his house so his family could have electricity and power a water-pump so that in the future their crops would not fail. The villagers around him thought he was crazy or practising witchcraft, opposing at every turn. But this is why this story is inspiring above all else. William had a dream, he worked towards it undeterred by his circumstances or by the negative response of his community. He knew he could do it, so he did.
There were no 'proper' parts for him to build it with, so he scavenged around, looking for metal parts, bulbs, wiring etc in the local dump and old cars left out to rust. He made his components out of junk left lying about the village. I would love children to read this book and be inspired by what William achieved. His family was the first to have electricity, he figured out a way to make a plug so all those in the village could charge their cellphones.

Through a passing reporter's interest William became famous in Africa, attended the TED conference and has now travelled around the world inspiring other children to work on innovation enterprise.

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