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What We’re Reading: The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind

By Lyndsey Vanderwelde

Looking for a summer read? At Opportunity, we’re reading The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, written by William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer.

It’s the story of a young boy with an entrepreneurial spirit who was able to transform the lives of the people in his community. Young William Kamkwamba and his family grew up in Malawisurrounded by poverty. With just an idea and a few resources he was able to make a windmill out of scrap material that eventually generated enough electric power for his whole community. The story ofThe Boy Who Harnessed the Wind inspired us because it’s a testament to the determination of individuals living in poverty, and it demonstrates how people have the power to improve their lives with just a few resources. The book serves as “one more reminder of how small the world is and how powerful the human spirit can be,” says Seth Godin, author of Tribes

Questions to consider as you read the book: 

  1. What motivates people like William to attempt the unthinkable? Surrounded by poverty, how were his dreams and visions shaped and then taken into action?
  2. Applying the lessons of the book to women, how can we support women living in poverty in encouraging their children, their families, and themselves to act upon their ideas and talents to help their communities thrive?
  3. Imagine what a handful of Williams with some encouragement and financial backing from government and private sources might accomplish. Share some ideas of where this could lead.

This is our reading recommendation, but what’s yours? Tell us what book you would recommend to friends who want to read more about alleviating poverty and empowering the economically marginalized. Give us your recommendations in the comment field below. 

-This post and readers’ guide was researched and written by Opportunity marketing intern Lyndsey Vanderwelde.

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