William Kamkwamba educated him in his local library
By Jude Sheerin
The extraordinary true story of a Malawian teenager who transformed his village by building electric windmills out of junk is the subject of a new book, The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind.
Self-taught William Kamkwamba has been feted by climate change campaigners like Al Gore and business leaders the world over.
His against-all-odds achievements are the more remarkable considering he was forced to quit school aged 14 because his family could no longer afford the $80-a-year (£50) fee.
When he returned to his parents' small plot of farmland in the central Malawian village of Masitala, his future seemed limited.
But this was not another tale of African potential thwarted by poverty.
Defence against hunger
The teenager had a dream of bringing electricity and running water to his village.
Many, including my mother, thought I was going crazy – people thought I was smoking marijuana
And he was not prepared to wait for politicians or aid groups to do it for him.
The need for action was even greater in 2002 following one of Malawi's worst droughts, which killed thousands of people and left his family on the brink of starvation.
Unable to attend school, he kept up his education by using a local library.
Fascinated by science, his life changed one day when he picked up a tattered textbook and saw a picture of a windmill.
Mr Kamkwamba told the BBC News website: "I was very interested when I saw the windmill could make electricity and pump water.
"I thought: 'That could be a defence against hunger. Maybe I should build one for myself'."
Thank you to Jude Sheerin for writing about my story.