William Kamkwamba was born August 5, 1987 in Malawi, and grew up on his family farm in Wimbe, two and half hours northeast of Malawi’s capital city. William was educated at Wimbe Primary School, completing 8th grade and was then accepted to secondary school. Due to severe famine in 2001-2002, his family lacked funds to pay $80 in school fees and William was forced to drop out in his freshman year. For five years he was unable to go to school. Rather than accept his fate, William borrowed books from a small community lending library, including an American textbook Using Energy, which depicted a wind turbine. He decided to build a windmill to power his family’s home. First he built a prototype, then his initial 5-meter windmill out of a broken bicycle, tractor fan blade, old shock absorber, and blue gum trees. He was able to power four light bulbs and two radios, and charge neighbors’ mobile phones. He then added a car battery for storage, as well as homemade light switches and circuit breakers. Subsequent projects have included clean water, malaria prevention, solar power and lighting for his family compound, a deep water well with a solar powered pump, a drip irrigation system, and the outfitting of the village team Wimbe United with uniforms and shoes. In September, 2008, William started as one of 97 inaugural students at the African Leadership Academy, a new pan-African prep school based outside of Johannesburg, South Africa whose mission is to educate the next generation with rigorous academics, ethical leadership training, entrepreneurship and design (africanleadershipacademy.org). William is the subject of the short film Moving Windmills: http://missingpiecesvideo.com/kamkwam.... William is currently finishing his autobiography The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind: Creating Currents of Electricity and Hope with co-author Bryan Mealer. Harper Collins will publish the memoir Sept. 29, 2009.