15-year-old Kelvin Doe is an engineering whiz living in Sierra Leone who scours trash bins for spare parts, using them to build batteries, generators, and transmitters. What is so unique about this aspiring inventor is that he is entirely self-taught, taking apart pieces and studying their wiring, then reverse-engineering them. He has created his own radio station, where he plays music and broadcasts news under the moniker, DJ Focus.
Kelvin is officially the youngest person in history to be invited to the “Visiting Practitioner’s Program” at MIT, and was featured as a part of THINKR’s bi-weekly Prodigies series, which showcases the youngest and brightest in the world. You can watch his story here:
As heartfelt and enlightening this video is, it begs a big question: How do you foster innovation among young people around the world?
How do you create a platform for innovation? One of the commenters had the idea to “sponsor a team of specialists to go over to Sierra Leone (or another country) with a clear objective: create a ‘hub’ where young people could learn the basics, apply their knowledge and explore from their local available resources (as limiting as they may be), thus creating a platform for innovation.”
David Sengeh, the PhD student who vouched for Kelvin to come to MIT, has actually founded an organization that does just that: Innovate Salone, and has started a crowdfunding campaign in order to support that. Read his CNN blog post here, and consider donating! I know we are all very poor, but I think some people could spare $10. Let’s put it in perspective:
- $10 will provide transportation for 1 maker who attends the Summer Innovation Camp
- $50 will pay for feeding for 2 makers at the Summer Innovation Camp
- $250 will be a monthly stipend for 1 Innovate Salone Fellow
- $500 will provide a Finalist Award to support 1 team of makers in developing a prototype of their invention
- $1000 will help support 1 winning team of makers to develop prototypes for a year