The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind

Author: Rachel Novick


William Kamkwamba, author of The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, will be speaking at McKenna Hall on Monday, March 18th at 7 p.m. His life is a remarkable story of human inventiveness and its power to overcome crippling adversity.

William Kamkwamba was born in Malawi, a country withered by drought and hunger. But William dreamed of building a windmill that would bring to his small village electricity and running water, luxuries that only 2% of Malawians enjoy. With a small pile of science textbooks; some scrap metal, tractor parts, and bicycle halves, he embarked on a daring plan to forge an unlikely contraption and small miracle that would change the lives around him.

“His neighbors called him misala—crazy—but William refused to let go of his dreams,” said Jenny Frech, Education and Outreach Coordinator at the Center for Sustainable Energy and lead organizer for the event. “Having the chance to meet William and hear his story first-hand will inspire anyone who doubts the power of one individual’s ability to change his community and better the lives of those around him.”


Doors open at 6 p.m. The event includes a performance from the African singing troupe Voices of Mercy, displays from partner organizations and the Malawian culture, and a book signing and reception with William after the speaking engagement.

This event is free and open to the public. Parking is available on the south side of Legends. In addition, the Saint Joseph Public Library is hosting a book talk on Kamkwamba’s book on Thursday, March 14th at 6:30 p.m.

Kamkwamba is a 2007 TED Global Fellow, and is currently a student at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire. His visit is sponsored by The Center for Sustainable Energy at Notre Dame, the Lynch Lecture Series, the Edison Lecture Fund, the Center for Social Concerns, the Reilly Center, the Office of Sustainability, the College of Arts and Letters, and in partnership with Malawi Matters and Better World Books.

Contact Jenny Frech at Notre Dame’s Center for Sustainable Energy for more information.