This is an inspiring story indeed! William Kamkwamba was born in rural Malawi and was forced to drop out of school after extended droughts meant his parents could no longer pay the school fees. Far from giving up, William started to spend most of his time in the school library, reading and teaching himself electronics. Then he started collecting scrap materials and built a windmill that produced enough electricity to light his parents home to save them having to spend money on paraffin oil. This was just the beginning of his inventiveness which lead to him giving a TED talk and attending the African Leadership Academy. His Moving Windmills Project supports community initiatives in his home village of Wimbe in Malawi.
This is a brilliant book, taking the reader through the painful reality of drought and disease in Malawi, one of the poorest countries in the world. William is an example of a young person who is curious about the world, full of enthusiasm and determined to do the best he can to better himself and give back to his community. His ability to be creative with 'waste' materials (for example making light switches from scraps cut from flip flops!) is totally inspiring. The book also acts as a textbook for anyone wanting to make their own simple windmill.
It often feels as though there are too many stories of hopelessness coming out of Africa. This story redresses that balance, demonstrating that although countries like Malawi face extreme difficulties in terms of weather and disease, they are populated by people who really can change things!
The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer published by Harper Collins.
Harper Collins have an environmental policy, which you can read here.