William Kamkwamba, ALA Student, adds “Bestselling Author” to his CV

October 20th, 2009

William Kamkwamba has become the first African Leadership Academy student to have a book published. The book, The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, recounts his trials and tribulations as he tried to bring electricity to his poor Malawian village.

Struck by severe drought and poverty, William’s village had a lot of hunger and little in the way of hope. William, the only son among eight siblings, had been denied access to secondary school because his family could not afford the school fees. So he started reading the science books in his local library.

One book, Using Energy, described how to make a windmill. William realized that if he could build a windmill, he could give his family the ability to pump water. They could feed themselves. They would have hope.

Working with an old bicycle and scrap from a local scrap yard, and working against the public perception that he was either crazy or possessed, William figured out how to make not just one but three windmills.

William’s remarkable story has led him to be a guest speaker at two TED conferences. Recently, he was profiled on CNN. Touring to support his book, William has also made appearances on Good Morning America with Diane Sawyer and The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.

William’s book has placed as high as 7 on Amazon’s bestseller list.



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