Blogging the young windmill builder who rocked TEDGlobal

Posted by: Tedstaff

William Kamkwamba, the 19-year-old self-taught engineer who built a windmill power system for his family’s home in Malawi, was a star of TEDGlobal 2007. As reported by Ethan Zuckerman, several TEDsters have pledged to help him further his education.

Now you can follow William’s journey on his blog. Read about the windmill he built, his latest upgrades to his power system, and the people he is meeting who — like so many people at TEDGlobal and in the blog community — are impressed and inspired by what he’s achieved.

Comments (2)

  • Sean Park commented on Jun 27 2007

    It’s a great story and a great blog – William and his friends have done a terrific job. Without wanting to over commercialize the site, I was thinking that it might make sense for William to put AdSense on his blog. Given the traffic he might get from the TED audience and their connections, it might give him a reasonable income to help finance his growing power generation projects! (Having never used AdSense I am one of the least qualified members of the TED community to opine on what he could reasonably expect to make – I’m sure someone can give good guidance there – but given his resourcefulness and some of the costs he has outlined on his blog, it strikes me that even a little could go a long way! And given his entrepreneurial spirit, it would seem to be a great fit.

    On another note, I like Ramon’s sales pitch for South African Universities; it seems to make a lot of sense. But if William’s heart is set on seeing the world outside the continent (!) he might also consider the UK (closer to home) or in the US – Rice (shameless plug…I’m a graduate) in Houston – a great engineering school in a tropical setting: far from home but at least no climate shock! ;)

  • Ramon Thomas commented on Jun 26 2007

    Thank for exposing William to such a large audience. I want to make a suggestion at this point. While William and Tom Rielly sat next to me at the Google lunch on the Tuesday of TEDGlobal, Tom raised the issue of further studies. And although I heard of MIT, it was apparent that William had not heard of MIT.

    And many will agree there is a strong sentiment of Africans helping each other. So whenever William finishes high school I highly recommend he comes two South African because we have some excellent engineer schools. Firstly there is the University of Cape Town, which has become extremely popular with foreign students and is located in one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Secondly there is the University of Witwatersrand, also known as WITS, which has an excellent international reputation. Either of these schools or perhaps even Rhodes University would be very good choices for William.

    It would be easier, and closer for him to travel back home to visit his family and maybe the biggest reason is that we in South African can relate more to the situation in Malawi. And then when William has finished his Bachelors he could continue with post graduate studies @ MIT.