What we can learn from a 14-year old African boy!

I have just finished reading the book “the boy who harnessed the wind” and I have to say that I am deeply inspired and impressed.

The book tells the true story of a William Kamkwamba, a young African boy who built a Windmill.

He grew up in Malawi, his father was a farmer and they had literally now money. During a 5 month hunger crisis, William and his family almost starved to death. They couldn’t afford sending him to school so one day he decided to visit the local library. There, he found books that fascinated him; books that explained physics, electronics and science. During one of his visits, he discovered a book that showed a windmill farm and he had a dream: if he could build a windmill that could generate enough electricity to operate a water-pump, his family could harvest twice as many crops and would never have to be afraid of starvation again.

So he went out, with no money, with knowledge he learned from books, with no help – to build the first windmill in his village. And he succeeded!

His journey has long continued beyond the windmill – he spoke at the famous TED conference (see below) and he is now applying to the best schools. His new vision is to bring energy to his whole country.

William’s story made me think:

We, that we are living in Austria (or in Western Europe for that matter), have access to so much knowledge, so much material goods, so much safety, so much money.

Why is it that with all these resources, it is so hard for us to follow our dreams? Why is it that we, that have so much are mainly occupied to gain more? Why is it, that it is so hard for us to see how we could make a difference? When all this was possible for a young African boy who couldn’t afford going to school which would have cost 5 EUR per year?

What is it that is needed? More money? More support? More safety? More …?

I have a theory, but I would like to hear what you think. Please post your thoughts here: http://www.facebook.com/hubvienna/posts/133798670042713

I am looking forward to hearing your thoughts,


Here is William’s talk at TED 2009:

click here to see the talk

Matthias Reisinger IMPACT IS… Doing what makes you come alive in a way it contributes to more than just yourself. WHAT DID YOU DO BEFORE BECOMING PART OF THE IMPACT HUB VIENNA TEAM I was finishing my studies and building up emersense, the NGO which gave birth to the Hub WHAT DO YOU LIKE MOST ABOUT YOUR JOB? Prototyping the new way of doing business WHAT DO YOU WANT TO HAVE ACHIEVED AS PART OF THE IHV TEAM BY THE END OF THE YEAR? Hosting the impact eco-system in Austria and bringing it to the next level WHAT DOES YOUR PERFECT SUNDAY LOOK LIKE? Excercize + Chillaxation + Good Food & Good Movie in Good Company WHAT IS AN ABSOLUTELY RANDOM FACT ABOUT YOU THAT EVERYONE SHOULD KNOW? When I was learning the piano as a child, I refused to learn the music pieces I was supposed to, but only wanted to play my own compositions PLACE OF BIRTH? Linz, Austria LANGUAGES YOU SPEAK? German, English, French

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