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The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind

April 17, 2017 |


With only a library book as his guide, fourteen-year-old William changed his life forever.

William Kamkwamba used junk parts and an amazing imagination to build the windmill he read about for his Malawian village, harnessing enough energy power to save his family from famine and jump start his dying farming community.

A terrible drought wiped out crops in Malawi, leaving William and his family with nothing to eat and nothing to sell. In desperation, William searched the science books in his local library for a solution and it was there he discovered the windmill. Working with scrap metal and old bicycle parts, William was able to generate the electricity that helped his family pump the water needed to farm. Despite the dangers and destitution faced in his land and the mocking of neighbors (“Ah, look, the madman has come with his garbage.”), William shows how one person with hope and determination can make a difference.

williamEventually , a school inspection team sees the young engineer’s project and he is invited to speak at a TED conference, leading to a scholarship and an education at Dartmouth College. But this is almost anticlimactic after the story of what William was able to accomplish with a little information and his creative mind.

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind has also been released in children’s and picture book versions, as well. Now it is available as a movie called William and the Windmill.