December 24, 2009

Harnessing the Power of Wind

Hi Guys,

Many of us have gone to school, learnt something there and forgotten the concepts after the exams.

A teenager in Malawi was unable to go to school, but he used the nearby library and learnt to erect a windmill. He constructed a windmill in his village and now he is a global icon.


William Kamkwamba was born in Malawi, one of the world’s poorest countries. It was a land withered by drought and hunger. William was fascinated by science from his young age. His goal was to study in one of top boarding schools. In 2002, Malawi was stricken by famine. His family’s farm was devastated and they were left penniless. William was not able to pay a mere $80 per year for his education.

Using Energy

William’s interest to learn did not stop even then. He went to a nearby library to study. There a book called ‘Using Energy’ caught his eyes. In that book he saw how to construct a windmill. As there used to be lot of wind in Malawi, William decided to assemble a windmill. Another thing that must be said here is only 2% of Malawians could afford electricity. So when William said he was going to generate electricity, everyone said him to be crazy.

Constructing a Windmill

William constructed a windmill using scrap metal, tractor parts and his bicycle. The windmill was terrible in appearance. Everyone said how this could generate electricity. When he operated it and produced electricity, everyone was flabbergasted. He was able to run 4 bulbs with the 1st windmill. With the 2nd one he ran a water pump that helped people during drought to take water from wells.

Popularity and Fame

His invention was brought out to the world by Alligator, Africa’s first blog. Then BBC team took it outside Africa. Now William Kamkwamba is a student at African Leadership Academy, a pan-African high school in Johannesburg, South Africa. A 2007 TED Global Fellow, Kamkwamba has been profiled in the Wall Street Journal and his inventions displayed at Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry. He's often invited to tell his story, and in 2008, he delivered an address at the World Economic Forum on Africa.

William Kamkwamba in TED

He has published a book ‘The Boy who harnessed the Wind’ along with Bryan Mealer.

Also visit the blog

P.S: U can browse the book using the gadget ‘Browse inside’. It’s at the left top corner of my blog.

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