STORIES
Community Heroes

William Kamkwamba

by Matthew from Granite Bay

In the year 2002 a young boy named William Kamkwamba found out that he had to drop out of school because his family could not pay the $80 annual school fees. Their town was all suffering because of the 2001-2002 drought. William Kamkwamba did not let this stop him.


Starting at just fourteen, William Kamkwamba started borrowing books from people and the library at his former school. He studied things like energy and physics. He got a book called using energy. This book had a windmill on the front and taught people how to create one for themselves. He decided to create one to power his house because in the town of Malawi all the light they have is candles.

William started building his windmill. He had to go to local junkyard to hand pick all the items he needed to make his project. He later on, builds a prototype of the wind mill he hoped to create. It was about five meters tall and made out of broken bicycle, tractor fan blade, old shock absorber, and blue gum trees. It was a success, he powered four to five light bulbs, two radios, and could charge local peoples devices. Later on he rebuilt it making it twelve meters high and added a lot of new things like a car battery to store the electricity, homemade light switches, and circuit breakers. William was the hero of the town. Everyone wanted to meet him and see his work. He allowed people for free to charge their phone and other gadgets.


William Kamkwamba has inspired many people around the world including me. His love to learn and help the community inspires people of all ages. It shows people it's possible to help even if you don't have the education or the community. It's showed me that if he is able to do it so can. I will spend more time doing things that help others not just me. William fits right in to my definition for a hero. I think a hero is someone who helps others even if there is not benefit for them.  William spends months working on his windmill just to give lights for his village so they could stop breathing in all the smoke from their candles.

From the year 2002 when William Kamkwamba had to drop out of school to now, he has made a lasting impact in his village and people around the world. He keeps inspiring new kids and he will for the rest of his life. William Kamkwamba is a hero.

Page created on 11/8/2012 12:00:00 AM

Last edited 11/8/2012 12:00:00 AM

The beliefs, viewpoints and opinions expressed in this hero submission on the website are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the beliefs, viewpoints and opinions of The MY HERO Project and its staff.

Related Links

'The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind' - A book my hero made