Business

William Kamkwamba was too poor to go to school, so built windmills to give his village water and electricity instead

GIVING BACK: William Kamkwamba

GIVING BACK: William Kamkwamba

MEET WILLIAM Kamkwamba, the Malawian innovator, engineer and author.

The 29-year-old gained fame in his country when, in 2002, he built a windmill to power a few electrical appliances in his family’s house in Wimbe (20 miles east of Kasungu) using blue gum trees, bicycle parts, and materials collected in a local scrapyard.

Since then, he has built a solar-powered water pump that supplies the first drinking water in his village and two other windmills (the tallest standing at 39 feet) and is planning two more, including one in Lilongwe, the political capital of Malawi.

A crippling famine forced William to drop out of school when he was 14, and he was not able to return to school because his family was unable to afford the tuition fee.

In a desperate attempt to retain his education, William began to frequently visit the library. It was at the local library where Kamkwamba discovered his true love for electronics.

In 2013, Time Magazine named William one of the 30 People Under 30 Changing The World.

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