Nassau Community College Presents The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind – William Kamkwamba

November 25

Garden City, NY – Nassau Community College will present The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind on Monday, November 25, at 11am and 2pm in the Multipurpose Room of the College Center Building.  During the presentation, inventor William Kamkwamba will speak about his experience as a Malawi native who built an electricity-producing windmill as a youth and has gone on to help others find tools and mentorship to solve everyday problems.

William Kamkwamba is a born inventor whose family could not afford the fees necessary to enroll him in middle school.  When he was 14, he built an electricity-producing windmill from spare parts and scrap, working from rough plans he found in a library book called Using Energy and modifying them to fit his needs.  The windmill he built powered four lights and two radios in his family home.

William Kamkwamba 

After reading about Kamkwamba on Mike McKay's blog Hactivate (which picked up the story from a local Malawi newspaper), TEDGlobal Conference Director Emeka Okafor spent several weeks tracking him down at his home in Masitala Village, Wimbe, and invited him to attend TEDGlobal on a fellowship.  Onstage, Kamkwamba talked about his invention and shared his dreams: to build a larger windmill to help with irrigation for his entire village, and to go back to school.

Following Kamkwamba's moving talk, there was an outpouring of support for him and his promising work.  Members of the TED community got together to help him improve his power system (by incorporating solar energy), and further his education through school and mentorships.  Subsequent projects have included clean water, malaria prevention, solar power and lighting for the six homes in his family compound; a deep-water well with a solar-powered pump for clean water; and a drip irrigation system.  Kamkwamba himself returned to school, and attended the African Leadership Academy, a pan-African prep school outside Johannesburg, South Africa.  He graduated from Dartmouth College in 2014 and is now building an innovation center in Malawi where young people can find tools and mentorship to solve everyday problems. 

For more information about The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, which is free, open to the public and accessible to the disabled, call 516.572.7148 or email  Members of the public who plan to park their cars on campus should stop by the Public Safety Office to get a campus parking permit.

Media contact Charmian Smith 516.572.9634;

About Nassau Community College
Nassau Community College is an institution where more than 18,000 full-time, part-time, Workforce Development and continuing education students start and continue their successful journey through higher education. More than 80 fields of study are offered on a 225-acre campus located in the center of Long Island. As the largest single-campus two-year college in New York State, Nassau Community College maintains a national reputation for excellence. For more information, visit

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