William Kamkwamba and AdmirersINSPIRATION CORNER

"Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it".Goethe

"Never let your head hang down. Never give up and sit down and grieve. Find another way. And don't pray when it rains if you dont pray when the sun shines" Richard Nixon

People are usually motivated or inspired by a host of circumstances, other people and events to achieve what they otherwise they would not have dared to attempt. On this page we feature the lives and experiences of two types of individuals:


the first category comprises those individuals who, confronted with adverse situations and /or setbacks or congenital handicaps in their lives, have summoned their inner strengths and dormant talents to reverse the course of their lives. Examples of two such individuals which we feature here are William Kamkwamba from Malawi and Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah from Ghana. The purpose of featuring these individuals is to remind our young visitors to the KNLC that any setback in life presents an opportunity to reverse the situation if one stubbornly refuses to allow the setback to get him down and, instead, explores all available options; and also that any physical disability that one is born with should not constitute a permanent and insurmountable obstacle to achieving one’s ambition.

The second category of individuals are those who have made costly sacrifices in their lives to help others improve themselves. This is also to remind our audience that helping others is a noble and commendable endeavor which needs to be cultivated by them. Here we feature Salman Khan (the educator not the Indian actor), a young man who has sacrificed a thriving and promising career as a hedge fund analyst to develop, almost singlehandedly, a magnificent learning site for science, mathematics and other disciplines completely free of charge. The source of inspiration for creating the KNLC is, of course, unmistakable. We also feature Seth Owusu, a Ghanaian-born computer technical expert in the US who, from very humble beginnings, is using his own resources to the benefit of his compatriots.

Again this page also features institutions and organizations which have made it their business to help promising young people to develop their talents. Here we feature the African Leadership Academy, the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls, both of which are located in South Africa, and World Possible, located in California, USA.


ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS


But before we feature these individuals and organizations, we wish to acknowledge a few people who have encouraged us to go back to school to learn web design and contribute to the building of the KNLC.
The first is my wife and partner,
Mrs Agnes B Osafo-Gyimah, who has shown great enthusiasm for my persistent learning activities and created a congenial environment for them. She has also been solely responsible for organizing my lecture activities in Ghana.
The second is
Professor Kofi Kissi Dompere of the Dept of Economics, Howard University, Washington DC, a deep and original thinker, an unassuming and selfless academic, who is quietly and unobtrusively developing a multi-disciplinary methodological approach which, we believe, will explode in academia with the force of a hurricane at the appropriate time. I have always held the view that he is a viable candidate for the Nobel prize for Economics whenever he appears on the Nobel Committee's radar. He has been a constant source of encouragement, and the numerous academic discussions which we have had over the years, have served as enduring inspiration to me.


Thirdly I wish to mention my friend and partner,
Rodney Batts, NYC, who first mentioned the Mid- Manhattan Adult Learning Center to me and recommended that if I was really interested in learning web design, my best bet would be to attend the lectures of Mr Evan Bishop. He couldn’t have given me a better advice.


Fourthly I wish to mention and express my deepest gratitude to my web design tutor,
Mr Evan Bishop of the Mid-Manhattan Adult Learning Center, NYC, whose lectures are the very best that I have ever attended; I never met a more inspiring teacher. And my friend and classmate at the web design class, Inom Nematov, who assisted me in putting finishing touches to the KNLC before finally uploading it on the internet.

My last acknowledgement and gratitude go to the Authorities of the Mid –Manhattan Adult Learning Center who made it possible for me to attend Mr Bishop’s lectures completely free of charge in a country where quality education doesn't come cheap. I wish to make it known to the center that I am not finished with them yet, so long as they continue to give the current range of courses for free and, particularly so, to the extent Mr Bishop continues to handle any courses there.

WILLIAM KAMKWAMBA


The first time I met William Kankwamba was at at a workshop organized by the African Economic Forum of Columbia University in March 2009. His story greatly intrigued me and I have since used it on numerous occasions in my lectures in Ghana as a source of inspiration to science and maths teachers .We formally feature him here for the same purpose. He is the Malawian boy who dropped out of school for financial reasons and resorted to self-education by borrowing books from the local library. Studying a 5th grade American textbook, USING ENERGY, at 15, William Kamkwamba used a broken bicycle, tractor fan blade, an old shock absorber and blue gum trees to build a 5-meter windmill to power 4 light bulbs and 2 radios and to charge mobile phones. He has since undertaken several projects, including a 12 meter windmill, home- made light switches and circuit breakers; solar power and lighting for 6 homes. He has also experimented with building a radio transmitter to broadcast popular music and HIV prevention messages. After graduating from the African Leadership Academy, he is currently a student at Dartmouth College in the US. You can listen to his own story on Youtube and read about him here (http://www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/william_kamkwamba ) or read the book written with the journalist, Bryan Mealer: The Boy Who Harnessed The Wind: Creating Currents of Electricity and Hope. You can also visit his website http://www.williamkamkwa.typepad.commba.

EMMANUEL OFOSU YEBOAH


"Saddled with a useless right leg, abandoned by his father, orphaned by his mother's death, and living in a country where physical deformities have traditionally been considered a curse, Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah faced odds that would intimidate any Westerner. The best a disabled Ghanaian could hope for in a country with an annual income of less than $500 was to eek out an impoverished living as a street beggar. Yeboah had a better idea—he would take a bike ride. With just one good leg, he pedaled around the sub-Saharan nation in an effort to open his countrymen's eyes to the fact that disability does not mean inability." Continue here http://biography.jrank.org/pages/2836/Yeboah-Emmanuel-Ofosu.html

 

SETH OWUSU

Seth is doing a remarkable job in Ghana and Nigeria promoting the use of computers for learning in villages, diverting the attention of the youth towards intellectually productive endeavors and attempting to replace tribal wars in northern Ghana with computer literacy. He has obviously not forgotten where he came from. Read about his exploits on his own website here:
Http://www.evcoafrica.org


Steve JobsSTEVE JOBS

Steve Jobs does not need any introduction. You can read about his fascinating life story here http://www.biography.com/people/steve-jobs-9354805 We feature him here for the most inspiring Commencement speech he delivered at Stanford University which changed the lives of several students. Read the full text of the speech here http://articles.businessinsider.com/2011-10-06/tech/30249828_1_college-tuition-calligraphy-adoption or listen to it on Youtube

Sal Khan and His TeamSALMAN KHAN

As pointed out elsewhere in this website, it was the Khan Academy which gave us the inspiration to go back to school in order to learn web design for the sole purpose of designing and maintaining the KNLC.
Read about Sal Khan here or check him on Youtube.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Khan_Acag

OPRAH WINFREY LEADERSHIP ACADEMY FOR GIRL

We feature OWLA here because of Oprah's belief in education and learning as a vehicle for personal and national transformation. To quote her

," My own(no pun intended) success has come from a strong background in reading and learning. The greatest gift you can give is the gift of learning"

Read about the dream of this remarkable woman from her accomplishments in the service of the dispossessed girls of South Africa from the owla site.
http://www.owla.co.za

WORLD POSSIBLE

This California-based non -profit organization is dedicated to, among other things, spreading access to educational resources in communities with no internet access. It seeks to accomplish this by the use of its highly mobile RACHEL(Remote Area Community Hotspots for Education and Learnong) server, designed by Norberto Mujica, which provides communities with offline copies of open source educational materials. At the moment the organization operates in India, seven African countries( Ethiopia,Eritea, Ghana, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Tanzania and Uganda) and Ecuador in Latin America. http://www.worldpossible.org

AFRICAN LEADERSHIP ACADEMY

The Greek Cynic philosopher, Diogenes, once said that" the foundation of every state is the education of its youth".

This appears to be the philosophy of the ALA. A truly pan African organization, the ALA stands as a tribute to its founders and a constant reminder of what can be achieved through collaboration and cooperation.Go to their website to learn how they want to shape Africa by tapping the potential and resourcefullness of its youth http://www.africanleadershipacademy.org

CYBER SMART AFRICA

: CSA in partnership with USAID and the Senegalese MOE has been operating in Senegal to introduce the world's first adapted interactive whiteboard using solar power to the poorest schools located in the most remote areas where electricity is virtually non existent. The technology is scalable and highly mobile making it possible to reach hundreds of students. Read about CSA here

 

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