Boy builds Windmill at 14 to give his house electricity

4 09 2007

One of my close friends was telling me earlier today about his failure to secure a promotion and how his future career is now all doomed. He was extremely depressed and seemed to be stuck in this “DOOMed for life” world he created, and wouldn’t let anyone in to get him out. I decided to reduce the number of words I was about to say to him and replace it with this short but inspiring 6 minute TED.com video I found.

Its a video of William Kamkwamba, a young African boy who built a windmill to provide his house with electricity back when he was 14! If you look at the “ingredients” he used for his windmill, they are mostly junk parts which you will probably be able to find around your house. I don’t know how long it took him to build the windmill but it definitely doesn’t look like any easy feat. The windmill looks HUGE!! Also, believe it or not, he learnt how to build it from a book he found at the library.

Wha?! All I’ve been using the library for is to get the books I needed to study for exams. Shame on me. It really goes on to show how the high emphasis on exams in our education system has hampered our creativity and lead us to spend most of our time studying for exams rather than being creative in applying the knowledge we have. 😦

Anyway, enough rants from me. Just thought of sharing the video to inspire others who are facing turmoils in their lives to look at things differently. William shows that our life is only how we perceive it to be. Instead of complaining about his government, corruption and how poor his life was, he chose to look at it differently and take the initiative to improve his life himself instead of waiting for something to happen. And, he ended up at TED. He really deserves the honour ! 🙂

Additional resources:

Meeting William Kamkwanba

William’s blog

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20 responses

4 09 2007
Teng Foung

I wonder what did I really contributed when I was 14 years old…

5 09 2007
Yee Hoong

Geeez! We always mentioned “making a difference”, this boy is really making a difference!
I was still just and JUST studying for PMR when I was 14! JUST PMR!
Su Yuen, I can’t agree further but say, the exam system truly impedes innovations like this. But that’s life I guess =)

5 09 2007
Chern Jie

Hey, is there any talk about where he gets the generator? That one would cost quite a bit!

5 09 2007
bitbot

Well according to this article, he built the windmill using poles, broken pipes, old shoes, copper wires and his father’s old bicycle.

5 09 2007
bitbot

@Yee Hoong: I wish there was a way to come up with an education system which do not focus so much on exams and at the same time give students more time to do creative and innovative things of their own interest. Then again, without exams it’d be hard for employers to judge the skills, capabilities and knowledge of job applicants.

5 09 2007
Chern Jie

Erh yeah, but you can’t make a generator out of poles, pipes, or old shoes, only the windmill itself. No discussion about the generator … maybe it could be an old generator for some farm application or something.

6 09 2007
Yee Hoong

Well, SOME of the Americans here are clamoring about how well their sys is in terms of hands-on approach and less exams dependent. But.. there’s always 2 sides. Some Americans, when I told them about the goal of Discover, said “whatttt?????! You’re promoting American edu sys? That’s the worse in the world I’ve seen and I regretted being in it!”
So, yeah.. you make ur judgment =p

7 09 2007
Joanne

Thanks for sharing the vid! (The guy was so humble it was sweet.)

23 04 2009
jj5438

this is what happens when you send books to africa rather than money, the kids learn to do things and teach the adults. If you send money it will only go to the corrupt.
Very inspirational but not the first of its kind there is a guy who setup an alarm for cars through your mobile phone.

20 05 2009
Enernpymn

Solid information!! Will definitely come back again soon:D

8 10 2009
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