We are joining a call from Anonymous who posted a very simple message, they say the media is blacking out the importance of Malawian Teen William Kamkwamba. He taught himself how to build a windmill from junk, brought power to his village, learned from books he read in the library!
He was a simple farmer, he hadn’t seen a computer and certainly not many white people in his life. But his mind prevailed and his inventions made lives better.
TED Wrote of him “At age 14, in poverty and famine, a Malawian boy built a windmill to power his family’s home. Now at 22, William Kamkwamba, who speaks at TED, here, for the second time, shares in his own words the moving tale of invention that changed his life.”
See his TED speech below, learn more about him and SPREAD THE WORD!
William Kamkwamba was born August 5, 1987, in Dowa, Malawi, and grew up on his family farm in Masitala Village, Wimbe, two and half hours northeast of Malawi’s capital city. The second eldest of Trywell and Agnes Kamkwamba’s seven children, William has six sisters, Annie, Dorris, Rose, Aisha, Mayless, and Tiyamike.
William was educated at Wimbe Primary School, completing 8th grade and was then accepted to Kachokolo secondary school. Due to severe famine in 2001, his family lacked the funds to pay the $80 in annual school fees and William was forced to drop out of school a few months into his freshman year. For five years he was unable to go to school.
Starting at 14, rather than accept his fate, William started borrowing books from a small community lending library located at his former primary school. He borrowed an 8th-grade American textbook, Using Energy, which depicted wind turbines on its cover. He decided to build a windmill to power his family’s home and obviate the need for kerosene, which provided only smoky, flickering, distant and expensive light after dark. First, he built a prototype using a radio motor, then his initial 5-meter windmill out of a broken bicycle, tractor fan blade, old shock absorber, and blue gum trees. After hooking the windmill to a car battery for storage, William was able to power four light bulbs and charge neighbors’ mobile phones. This system was even equipped with homemade light switches and a circuit breaker made from nails, wire, and magnets. The windmill was later extended to 12 meters to better catch the wind above the trees. A third windmill pumped grey water for irrigation.