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The Boy Who Harnessed The Wind

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Electric Wind

This is an incredible story, one that has the power to change the way we think of life, and what we are capable of.

William Kamkwamba, born in a village in Malawi, was 14 years old when he became fascinated with the idea of building a windmill after reading a book on energy at the library. The book was in English, which he knew very little of, so he taught himself just enough to work out the text.

The country was experiencing one of the worst famines and his family was in the grip of despair and poverty. He was not even enrolled in school at the time, because his family couldn't afford the $80 school fee.

William searched the scrap yards and found old tractor fans, shock absorbers, plastic pipe. He used pieces of his father's old bicycle and his mother's clothesline. People teased him and called him crazy, but he continued searching and tinkering.

And he built a windmill -- a crude machine that produced 12 volts and powered 4 lights. A second machine irrigated a family garden.

There is not even a word for windmills in his language. They call it "electric wind". Electricity is only enjoyed by only 2 percent of the population of Malawi.

People started showing up to power their cell phones. The family had for the first time, electricity and water. Journalists from all over the world eagerly covered the story.

This is a real life, modern day fairy tale. This video lets our hero William tell you in his now almost fluent English, his amazing story.

His story was a New York Times bestseller, published in 2009 "The Boy Who Harnessed The Wind" written by William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer, published by William Morrow. In 2012 it was also released as a children's book, titled "The Boy Who Harnessed The Wind: Young Readers Edition", published by Dial.

You can follow his story at:

This video was produced by Missing Pieces