“The world isn’t that big,” author and innovator William Kamwamba shared to the 881-person audience in the Windsor High School auditorium. “We’re interconnected.”
The New York Times-bestselling author of The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind shared his inspirational journey with our community on Saturday, Feb. 22, as part of the Clearview Reads author series.
Unable to afford school fees, Kamkwamba had to stop going to school. But that didn’t keep him from continuing his education by reviewing friends’ homework and checking out library books.
“Challenges are there not to stop your goals, but they are there to strengthen you,” he stated.
One particular library book inspired him to build a windmill to provide electricity to his home, overcoming translation issues and lack of supplies.
“Whatever you’re interested in, you’re going to have challenges. That’s part of life,” Kamkwamba said. “What makes it different is how you face it. A lot of the amazing things we see today, those people faced challenges, but it didn’t stop them.”
News of his success spread across Malawi, and soon garnered the interest of TEDGlobal, which helped spread his message through a TEDTalk. Today, Kamkwamba splits his time between the U.S. and Malawi, continuing his work in finding innovative solutions to challenges faced in his home country — deforestation, clean water, power, and more.
In addition to his author talk, Kamkwamba extended his trip to include time at three Weld RE-4 schools: Windsor Charter School, Windsor Middle School, and Rangeview Elementary.
At all schools, Kamkwamba gave a short presentation. Kamkwamba worked with students at Range View to test their windmill designs and provide feedback, while Windsor Middle School students created turbine models.
“As an IB school, we are always looking for ways to help students make global connections,” said Lindsay Hacker, Range View Elementary Learning Coach / Media Specialist. “Mr. Kamkwamba was able to share a perspective that students don't always get the chance to consider. Taking a moment to walk in someone else's shoes was an impactful experience for our students.”
“His story is so inspirational, and our students noticed this and thought he had done incredible things, especially considering his circumstances. Hearing powerful stories like William's helps them have a more global view of our world,” agreed Heather Moon, Windsor Middle School Librarian and Learning Coach.
The most powerful aspect of Kamkwamba’s story for some students was how he could make a difference in his community, despite his age.
“[Kamkwamba’s visit] inspired [students] to take action within their own community,” Hacker shared. “And showed them that they can make a difference even though they are kids.”
About Clearview Reads
Each year, the Clearview Library District, Clearview Library District Friends & Foundation, and the Kathy Murphy Speaker Series Fund are proud to present Clearview Reads, a series of literary events that brings popular authors to our community.
The author series is funded by the Weld Community Foundation Kathy Murphy Speaker Series Fund, which was created by a donation from Vincent Murphy in memory of his wife, Kathy, a former director of the Clearview Library District. This year’s event was also sponsored by Bank of Colorado, CPP Wind Engineering and Air Quality Consultants, Fransen Pittman, and RE/MAX (Dennis Schick, John Taylor, and Stephanie Woodward).