Hundreds of innovators have walked in and out of the MIT Media Lab. None of them, however, have been 15—none of them until Kelvin Doe from Sierra Leone flew from Africa to Cambridge as part of the Institute’s “Visiting Practitioner’s Program.”
“We have not too much electricity,” Doe says in the video. “The lights will come on once in a week and the rest of the month, dark. So, I made my own battery to power lights in people’s houses.”
Doe has scoured trash bins looking for spare parts to build batteries, and later generators and transmitters. He’s also started his own FM radio station, equipped with a self-made music mixer, giving everyone in the community the chance to tune in and get their fix of neighborhood news, according to Sengeh.
The two met at a national high school innovation challenge called Innovate Salone in Sierra Leone, where students are challenged to think about creative ways they can solve some of the most challenging issues within their communities. Prior to the camp, Sengeh says Doe hadn’t left a 10-mile radius of his home. Suddenly, he was becoming the youngest person in history to be invited to the “Visiting Practitioner’s Program,” presenting his technology to undergraduate students from Harvard College and MIT.
In the video, Doe claims his next project will be a windmill for people to use for electricity supply. As he said, wiping tears from his eyes, “I want to help my family—to provide the facility for them.”
To help Doe and other students like him, visit Crowdrise to donate to Innovate Salone. All funding will go directly toward more competitions that support young innovators.