Must read for your summer book list!

Greetings One World Tuition Family! Happy Spring time – almost summer!

This month I wanted to give you a synopsis on a book I just finished, and it just so happens that this is what inspired our founder, Stefanie Harris, to start One World Tuition!

The book I read is entitled The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind.

This true story, turned Netflix original movie, is about a young boy, William Kamkwamba. He was born and raised in Wimbe, Malawi and when he was 14 years old, a drought and famine swept across the nation. Like most countries in Africa, corruption leads to starvation and starvation to desperation. In Malawi, only 2% of the population has electricity and running water! The Malawians are farmers, working the land and reaping a harvest one time during the year. It’s back-breaking, hot and dry work that yield crops to sell at the market and feed the family. But once the drought hit, the land dried up completely, not raining for months and many people died of starvation. The village was desolate with people leaving to find better land to feed their families and survive.

William was not able to continue attending school because his family could not afford the fees. He would continue to try and sneak into school so he could continue to learn, but the headmaster found him, and he was sent home. One day he visited the school library, the woman working there decided to let him stay and he found a book called Using Energy. By reading the book he was able to construct a wind turbine on his own, truly an outstanding feat! William did not to wait around for help that was never coming and instead wanted to bring life-saving technology to his village. His passion and perseverance paid off!

Using materials found from the scrapyard, bicycle parts and car batteries, William pieced them all together over the course of months to build the wind turbine.  The turbine brought lights to the village and was connected to a water pump which kept the crops watered year around for a better harvest.

William was eventually discovered by the local media and the story began to spread through the country, he even came to America for a Ted Talk! WATCH HERE. He continued to go to school and graduated from Dartmouth College.

Despite the barriers and push back he got from his family and friends (many called him crazy), William at 14 years old persevered knowing that he could build the wind turbine to bring electricity and running water to his village. He held onto the fact that in the end, everyone would be grateful for his work.

Left: William and his wind turbine.

Right: Malawi is tucked in between Zambia and Mozambique.

“If you want to make it, all you have to do is try.” William Kamkwamba.

What’s the connection to One World Tuition?

William started school, but due to oppression by the government, drought and famine, William, along with many other students were not able to continue because the families could not afford the school fees. What Americans do not understand, is most countries around the world require students to pay a fee every year to attend school. (Even in countries not hindered by drought, famine or corruption, most families cannot afford school fees for all their children). The school fees include the teacher’s salaries, principal salaries, etc. Furthermore, each school has a uniform the students must wear every day with specific shoes, some students cannot afford the uniform and are not allowed to attend school. The classrooms are usually empty without desks or materials to write or study. However, these students go on to finish school, complete University and work in jobs that bring more stability to their families.

Education has the power to end poverty around the world. According to the World Bank, one extra year of school increases earnings by 20% for women. Imagine what can happen when an entire generation of girls and boys go on to complete higher education, the possibilities are endless!

William never gave up his dream of building a wind turbine for his village. It all started out with a book and a simple understanding of energy that propelled him into a brighter future than he or his parents could have hoped for him.

As a non-profit, the One World Tuition family believes that education has the power to change lives! Not just one, but many. In the example of William, he was able to finish school and it not only made a difference in his life, but his entire family and village of people! The ripple effect of education is a powerful force that continues for generations to come.

That is why 100% of the money donated to One World Tuition goes to the child’s education. We have no operating costs or salaries. You may wonder why we work so hard to provide education to students in poverty and the answer is simple: compassion. We see children suffering and are passionate about seeing the world be a better place starting with children who are educated and can change their futures for the better. We can’t help everyone around the world, but what we can do it help a child go through school who otherwise would not have had the chance.

Right: William’s wind turbine in Wimbe, Malawi

The quote below from the book, spoken at the TED Talk conference says it all. Africans are great innovators, they don’t have access to the newest gadgets, they use what they can to live, work and play.

“Africans bend what little they have to their will every day. Using creativity, they overcome Africa’s challenges. Where the world sees trash, Africa recycles. Where the world sees junk, Africa sees rebirth.” Erik Hersman

Left: William hanging a light bulb in his room powered by the wind turbine he built.

Right: Working with car batteries.

The book goes into more detail than I can describe and is a must for your summer reading list!!

Take a journey with William this summer, it will give you insight to another culture in this world and you will never forget it!

If you’re wondering what you can do to be involved with One World Tuition to end poverty, here are a few ways you can help:

  1. Visit to find out more about supporting children through school around the world!

  2. Like us on Facebook and Instagram to learn more about education around the world and the statistics that children face. Share what we have going on with your friends and family.

  3. Join our email list to get updates on what is happening with our students and our current needs.

 You can end poverty through education!!

 Until next time, never stop learning!