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William Kamkwamba

Rural inventor

Fellows Class:
William Kamkwamba

Biography

William Kamkwamba grew up on his family farm in Masitala Village, Wimbe, two-and a half hours northeast of Malawi's capital city. Due to severe famine in 2001 to 2002, his family lacked the funds to pay eighty dollars in annual school fees, and he was forced to drop out of school for five years. In 2002 he started to borrow books from a small community library. He came across an American fifth-grade textbook called Using Energy. The cover of the book showed a picture of wind turbines. He decided to build a windmill for his family to pump water and generate electricity for light. After some time, he found the materials to use and built his windmill, which generated enough power for four lights and two radios. In 2006 he attended TEDGlobal in Arusha, Tanzania, where he met people who helped him go back to school. He is currently enrolled at African Leadership Academy, the first pan-African preparatory school educating the next generation of ethical African leadership. His memoir, The Boy who Harnessed the Wind, written with Bryan Mealer, will be published September 29 by Harper-Collins et al in more than a dozen countries.


Vital Stats

Fellows Class
TEDGlobal 2009
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Working in
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Born in
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Contact

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