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A Kern County Family Magazine Interview: Q&A with William Kamkwamba


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Engineer and bestselling author William Kamkwamba’s October visit to California State University, Bakersfield (CSUB) was featured in last month’s Kern County Family Magazine (October, 2019 issue). He is best known for his life story that became a movie ( now streaming on Netflix), “The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind,” which recounts how, at age 14, the student brought irrigation and later electricity to his community in Malawi during a period of political upheaval and famine in 2002. 

The autobiography has inspired children around the world to take an interest in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math). Its message of perseverance against all odds resonates with families everywhere.

As a follow-up for parents who want to cheer on their own children’s success, we asked Kamkwamba to answer three questions. He kindly obliged.

William Kamkwamba’s three answers for our readers 

Q.  What do you wish families better understood about teaching science to kids?

A. I wish parents to know and understand that everyone learns differently. Some kids might learn by doing or some kids might immediately learn by reading in the textbook. Our role as adults, teachers, parents is to be supportive.

Q. What inspires you to stay active in your field?

A. Knowing that there are so many talented young people who did not have the same opportunities I did. That is why I am working now to build an innovation center in Malawi. I want young people to be able to come to a space where they can find tools and mentorship that can help them succeed.

Q. If you could share just one message with parents or with kids, what would that message be?

A. The advice I can give is that we will all face challenges but you cannot let any challenge stop you from achieving your purpose.

Special thanks to Danielle Kolodkin at HarperCollins Publishers and William Kamkwamba.

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