How William from Malawi Harnessed the Wind to generate Electricity

How William generated electricity using wind in Malawi

A young man helps his village

How a young man, uneducated, unschooled, from rural Malawi invented a windmill to generate electricity for his village. He used library books mainly using diagrams to build his windmill, using materials from a scrape yard.

He realised  his dream of harnessing the wind to generate electricity for his community.

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william testing his wind to electricity project


william with battery for wind project


william__testing_equipment for his wind electricity project


Thank you, 2 years ago I stood on the ted stage in Arusha, Tanzani. I spoke very briefly about one of my proudest creations.  it was a simple machine that changed my life, before that time I had never been away from my home in Malawi. I had never used the computer, I never never never seen an internet.

On stage that day I was nervous my English lost, i wanted to vomit i had never been surrounded by so many Azungu ( white people). There was a story I couldn’t tell you then, but well, I am feeling good right now, I would like to share that story today.

We are 7 children in my family all sisters except me. This is me and my dad when I was a little boy. before I  discovered the wonders of science I was just a simple farmer in a country of  poor farmers . like everyone else we grew maize, one year our fortune turned very bad.

In 2oo1 we experienced an awful famine , within 5 months all Malawians begin to starve to death. My family ate 1 meal per day at night. Only 3 swallows of nsima for each one of us. The food passes through our bodies, we dropped down to nothing.

In Malawi, secondary school you have to pay school fees. Because of the hunger I was forced to get out of school. I looked at my father and looked at those dry fields, it was the future I couldn’t accept.

I felt very happy to be the first year of secondary school so I was determined to do anything possible to receive education, so i went to a library I learnt science books  especially physics,  I couldn’t read English that well so I used diagrams and pictures to learn the words, another book put that knowledge in my hands.

It said windmill could pump water and generate electricity. Pump water meant irrigation and defense against hunger, which we were experiencing by that time. So I decide I will build one windmill for myself. But I didn’t have materials to use.  so I went to a scrape yard where I found my materials.

Many people including my mother, said I was crazy. I found a tractor fan, shock absorber, PVC pipes, using a bicycle frame and old bicycle dynamo I built my machine. It was 1 light at first, then 4 lights with switches and even a circuit breaker, modeled after an electric bell.

Another machine pumps water for irrigation, queues of people start lining up at my house, to charge their mobile phone. I could not get rid of them and the reporters came to, which led to bloggers and which led to call from something called TED.

I never seen an aeroplane before, I had never slept in a hotel so on stage that day in Arusha, my English lost, I said something like, I tried and I made it. So I would like to say something to all the people out there, like me, to the Africans and the poor who are struggling with your dreams God bless, maybe one day you will watch this on the internet.

I say to you trust yourself and believe, what ever happens don’t give it up, Thank you.

You may find small errors in this transcript.





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