In Sierra Leone, West Africa, the lights may come on once in a week, with the rest of the month, dark. So, Kelvin Doe made his own battery to power lights in people's houses from recycled parts he found in the trash. He also made his own FM radio transmitter and a generator to power it so that he can give voice to the youth in his country. David Sengeh discovered Kelvin at an innovation camp he runs in Sierra Leone and invited Kelvin to M.I.T., where David is a PhD student in the Media Lab. Just as Kelvin's world is expanded by working in the Media Lab, the researchers there had their world expanded by interacting with Kelvin.


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  • Meg arteaga

    His determination to help everyone to advance together

  • Bryan Jones

    The POWER of young peoples IMAGINATION !

  • Kevin

    He is a young man with a big heart! His purpose of wanting to provide a better life for his family and community drives him far. His hard works and determinations also played a big part. Amazing! God bless!

  • sue

    I was inspired by Kelvin's commitment to his community; his thoughts about helping his community to focus their efforts for sustainability in the future and for his beautiful self!

  • sandra

    His love for his mother, family and comminity and His Great Gift of wanting to share his talent. God bless him, sandra

  • Ajay Arora

    Amazing! I feel that scarcity forced him to think innovation and that's the beauty. Wonderful!

  • Bubbles

    There are many Kelvin's ,even here in the U.S.,but if the govt. keeps them on the dole, they have little incentive to invent; they learn to complain and ask for more. I wish all children his age could see this video! He is sweet and smart and motivated.

  • Chelsa

    I'm deeply inspired. Thank you so much for your important work!

  • Tobi

    Thank you to David for your important work. Thank you to both David and Kelvin for sharing your stories, your brilliance, your love, your vision with your communities and the world. Be well in your lives and your work. The world needs you. Blessed be!

  • Ima

    Just an amazing inspiration - such excellent examples should be shared where ever to be followed! Many thanks for sharing!

  • Seth Kastenbaum

    It inspired one of my students to be an inventor. It was fascinating to observe a teenager from a poor area of the world create a radio station for his community, a battery and generator, and use materials from a landfill for these inventions. If he can do it, perhaps we can as well. Perhaps we'll be a little more aware of how much we have in America. Lexi, Josue, Naim, Jesus, Chris, Brandon, Randall and Mr. K

  • john mackintosh

    his pure free thinking and drive to accomplish things using inovative ideas!

  • Immortal

    One way to promote innovation amongst the youth and even adults would be to provide a two-year internship in whatever field they choose to work in. The internship should include furnished housing and a decent weekly stipend to help launch the intern into the real world as a professional. These are my thoughts. Thank-you.

  • R.P. Hardy

    What a wonderful kid, so smart and good. I wish him every advantage that can possibly come his way.

  • Kurt Krueger

    Foster creativity for ALL at all levels for everyone's evolution - socially is very important... We have plenty of technology and yet haven't gotten to work well and peacefully together.

  • Deap

    I am hoping you will read this comment and contact me at, we are launching a project that is to help empower children to help solve the worlds biggest problems by creating a coalition of like minded non-profits. The launch event will be on Universal Children's Day (20th November 2013) and our website will be launched on the 14th February. Please get in touch as I think your organisation can be exposed to a greater global audience, which I feel is much deserved as it is so inspirational. I look forward to hearing from you soon sso I can share more details with you.

  • Ted Jec

    Submit unwanted things and share it with all who need them - Artists 4 Humanity - - simple, easy, free!

  • Peter

    Wow. Reminds me of the kids that made instruments from "junk" from a landfill. If you can get my email please send me a note. I have an idea for growing and expanding your innovation camp idea.

  • Oli

    Our(worldwide)children, are our future...let them blossom to something that is great and perfect, being themselves. I was given the opportunity to dream big and usher others to do so.

  • Pat

    So inspiring, I cried. Reminded me of the Boy Who Harnessed the Wind...I wish all the best for Calvin and that he grows to become a great influence in his society and the world.

  • Carlos

    David and Ken, I enjoyed this video about both of you and your own individual stories. Both of you offer hope to our world that's encumbered with so many problems. Working with very little and being able to produce and smile is inspiring and just awesome. I cannot contribute to your second request as my budget is very tight but I will let you know that I have been sponsoring two children from Sierra Leone for the last 3 years with the Children Fund in spite of economical circumstances and it will be the last thing I will stop doing. We all want to do well and help our family...our human family.

  • Ken

    What inspired me was that he is talking about community and national development and facilities for family and the youth! No selfish plans of becoming wealthy! Despite odds, this gem shines!

  • Joan Michelson

    Oh my...this boy is amazing! We need to create collaborations between kids like him in the US and outside the US. Like "sister cities" - maybe through schools? How did David find Kelvin? Use that mechanism. Bravo!

  • Miste Anders-Clemons

    What inspired me about this video is the aspect of a global concept of fostering creativity for young people.

  • Ian

    Wow, really inspiring, I my self have been wanting to do that exact thing to, so i am leaving this comment hoping you read it and to give me some advice on how to create a group that finds recycled things and use them for building things just like kelvin. so please send a response email back to the email and tell me what is the best way to create a group to do that sort of thing that i told you about, thanks so much and i love how kelvin is so into the whole project and it will inspire me to keep on dreaming and working toward my goal such as engineering and architecture, Thank you again for your Inspiration.

  • Emily

    Calvin is an inspiration to us all!!! The pride and ambition he has for his country and his family is amazing. He is a true gem. We need to nurture creativity and support others out there like him. What a sweet smart, talented young man. Loved the video!

  • Ian

    David and Kelvin, You are a both brave and exceptional young men. I appreciate so much your making the many efforts that led to this youtube posting. Therefore, I will gladly provide you with your first request. I am unable to respond to the second request of a donation right now as I am unemployed. When it comes down to it, what I see as the primary innovation showcased in you and the video is one of the heart. Both of you have shown a dedication to stepping outside your comfort zone and making tremendous efforts to connect with and support others on this heart level. All other innovation (technical, etc.) is coming secondarily after this. Therefore, I see you and Kelvin modeling exactly what is needed to foster more innovation in the community. Specifically, what I see this as being is... -Making efforts that are inspired by your spirit. This makes all efforts sincere and therefore purer and more effective -Including others in the process by involving them locally as well as globally (ex: allowing me to watch this video in California) -Making consistent efforts to engage these communities by sharing what you are doing, what you care about and providing a space for people to give their own opinions/ideas. -Providing proof through example of the power of these actions. This way, what you are doing is very visible, even on a global level. It touches other people and inspires them to act similarly. Thanks again boys, good luck!

  • Diana

    In a time where the media focusses on death, crime and catastrophe... I was so moved by the spirit of this young man. GIves me hope for our future...

  • Iya fasebe

    this is inspiring for all young people what a great opportunity for DJ Focus i love his name first off it does take a hugh amount of focus in what he is doing for his community and family, love to all

  • giusy

    anything is possible and this video shows that very well. Focusing is a great step to channel our energy and attract what we need.

  • Thierry

    This story about Kevin reminded me of another impressive story. That of a twelve years old congolese boy who made a music instrument out of a tin can, a stick and a bit of wire, becoming such a virtuoso of it that he was invited to join the most improbable rock orchestra ever to tour the world: the Staff Benda Bilili. This makes one wonder just to what degree creativity is dependant of outward circumstances?



  • Cynthia

    David, thank you for selfless act of compassion! Kelvin, I'm so inspired by the gifts God has given you, and how you choose to use them - To God be the glory! You are briliant and I look forward to seeing more of you in the years to come.

  • Nancy

    I teach creative process to adults and it's so inspiring to see young people around the globe exercising their natural abilities to create and innovate for the greater good.

  • Carolyn Keah

    This story is simply wonderful, to see a young man with so little according to the world's standards but has taken the time to try and do things to help his family and people. It would be so easy to do nothing and feel sorry for ones self, but Kelvin is helping to make many lives better. God is so good! Our youth should see this and other stories like it to see how hey can make a difference.

  • Denise Janssen Eager

    Both Kelvin's desire to help his community & David's desire to help Sierra Leonians who wish to help others should be commended & encouraged. I look forward to hearing more about these two remarkable young men in the future. Both will go far with this innovative & empathetic attitude.

  • Phil Notz

    Kelvin is an amazing and brilliant person. How many more like him don't have the resources to realize their potential. How much better world we would have if we used our resources to promote their creativity and hard work instead of destroying things and people with wars.

  • bob banner

    Not only about the brilliance of Kelvin but the passion of David to gather more and more young people to create a movement for innovation, to create the electricity from solar and wind and other "alternatives" so we can see models of towns and villages that have electricity, perhaps even freely given so people can advance and be models for us in the "advanced" west who are running electricity from such polluting sources as coal, oil, fracking and nuclear... we need more examples. Lets encourage David to build a website, to make those connections, to have friends from the US to other parts of the world in creating more dialoguing and open sourcing for information sharing, support as well as the new and creative innovations... at a time when we need it the most... Its not always about us "teaching them" what we know but us learning about what they can teach us in terms of collaboration, community building and when is enough enough, as in a reverse Peace Corps....

  • Tracey

    it shows so beautifully that it is not about how much we have, but our self belief & creativity. That Kelvin can do so much good with so little, not just for himself but his whole community speaks volumes about what truly matters in this world. It is what He can teach the rest of us that is really important. It gives me enormous hope for a better future & is truly inspiring. Thank you


    When poverty needs to invention

  • Chinello

    Everything is possible!No matter what it only takes vision and Kelvin has it!

  • Jeff

    Inspired by - the way he did not so much with so little. - his amazing inventiveness in a low resource setting. - his inventions serve a practical purpose to uplift his community. - his amazing attitude and maturity at such a young age. Wow!!!!!

  • Kim Taylor

    Desire is such an important piece of this young man's life. It makes anything possible! Go Kelvin!!!!!

  • caroljeanne

    I'm feeling a rush of inspiration and hope for this world. The media is so full of negativity, I'm thrilled to see that humans are still able to feel, think and create. Congratulations.

  • Andy

    Kelvin's huge sense of community and his connection to his community and country. It is inspiring to see what young, innovative people can do if they are given a chance; and what Sierre Leone can do if given a chance.

  • Robert Cohen

    As a former UNICEF communication advisor, I've seen this potential in so many kids around the world. As well as the crushing of this potential by poverty, war and discrimination of all kinds. Hat's off to David, MIT Media Lab and all your partners for supporting brilliant and lovable Kelvin and working to build a global movement of young innovators. Our consulting company, Rain Barrel Communications would be delighted to help in any way we can.

  • bob gottlieb

    as well as bringing 'kelvins' we have to send some of our bright ones there so they will understand the otherside of the coin - see what and how other people are doing with so little - please keep it up

  • Matt

    I think the most inspiring part of his story is actually the fact that he simply is acting on what he thinks about. The world at large would be a much better community if we all did just that alone! Follow your passion.

  • yogesh parthe

    That's too great It inspires me a lot......

  • Jorge

    It was awe-inspiring! What moved me the most was that his IMAGINATION & CREATIVITY was supported & fostered. When I see our arts programs, health & fitness programs removed from our schools, it breaks my heart. For what good is the knowledge we gain if we have not fostered the ability to imagine different ways in how to use it. It is through our creative faculties & imagination we will find ways to deal with our most common worldly issues. So, I say, promote the arts & anything which will foster a child's imagination. Walt Disney called it, "Imagineering". That's what we need to do!

  • Ann

    I love it! I love his commitment to making life better for his community and his incredible resourcefulness in doing so.....he is not limited by self doubt and finances....he just does it! Incredible!

  • Vivian

    I'm pumped! This is awesome and I will find a way to support this.

  • Jane Burns


  • Shaun Piazza

    A child producing applicable works to benefit a community! I believe in teaching children to try this power; school should not just be for practice.

  • DMorris

    Kevin Doe's story is inspiring and underscores the fact that a mind is a terrible thing to waste. Kevin found resources in his own backyard to make a difference in his community. America watch out what's coming out of the so called "dark continent"- there is light coming out of Africa, so what are you going to do to help Kevin Doe achieve his dream to help his family?

  • Kathy

    I appreciate the resourcefulness that Kelvin demonstrates on behalf of his people. His clear values guide his young courage and will. Giving children opportunities to work on solving problems, real problems relevant to their home, school, and community, would inspire many.

  • tamilyn

    :) no limit given free will and a helping hand inspire me Kelvin xo blessings

  • Laura

    What a great video; I am inspired by the imagination and drive of Kelvin Doe and other young people like him, and by the vision of David Sengeh to bring these opportunities to his home country. We need more partnerships like the one David has forged with MIT, to create opportunities for young people to take part in helping their communities. What richness we have when we work together and help each others imaginations and talents flourish! Thank you for your work, Kelvins and Davids everywhere.

  • Stuart Young

    This shows genius can spring up anywhere, anytime. Imagine the mind resources that are being wasted around the world - incredible. Let's raise the standard of living across the globe, as that is where everybody's future well being reside.

  • brad

    Kelvin's ingenuity, charm and caring are wonderful. Thanks to David, MIT and the sponsors to promote this story. I believe we all benefit by hearing about inspiring people and stories. I've started sharing these kind of stories on my blog. Maybe bloggers can help you spread the word?

  • kaplash

    his young heart having deep desire to make better for his family ;

  • kaplash

    What a great idea & job Ur doing / if one could gather a bunch of Craftsmen willing to go on a working vacation & pass on some Skills, might be a thought ?

  • jane

    Was very impressed! This is an excellent project and I commend David Sengeh and MIT!

  • chris davis

    the kindness is inspirational. on another note, does it not seem like some zillionaire corporation might want to get its name associated with such beauty and intelligence?

  • Shirley Marsh

    I think all schools should encourage a dialogue between teachers and students; we can learn as much from our children as they can from us if we encourage them to think outside the box. Teach the basics of language, math and science as a spring board for innovative thought. And demonstrate the interrelationship between all subjects, everything is connected to everything else, and good outcomes for the world come from good outcomes in every endeavour in life, making caring for each other the focal point. David and Kevin are an inspiration, and I hope this initiative grows exponentially.

  • Sheri

    All limits are self imposed. I'm inspired by his creativity and going out and doing! Kelvin is a brilliant human being. Thank you for what you do, David!

  • Maya Vidhyadharan

    This is inspiring to me. Kelvin's humility and open heart is touching. This tells me that greatness comes in humble packages. I applaud his mentor David for his generous act to allow Kelvin to be seen and inspired by many in US and Sierra Leone. Regarding the question asked : How can one inspire young minds to innovate in my community (Silicon valley, California)? 1. Reset the mind set that only the wealthy get opportunities amongst our teens. 2. Remove the dependence on addictions to the next high (video games out of balance, substance abuse), through giving them the bigger picture on Quantum Physics, emotional wellness and a deep connection to something greater than their perceptions in the unconscious mind. Our teens need emotional balance and connection with a greater good to discover the love and caring for another and let go of entitlement, rat race and greed. 4. Teens in Silicon valley can be encouraged to travel to different countries and invent along with the native teens for a higher cause - maybe for promoting peace and unity between countries. Also to partner with Corporations in Silicon Valley and start the program of teen shadow similar to what Kelvin did in MIT. -Maya

  • Jewel

    Kelvin is such a wonderful and smart young man! Knowing there are kids out there like him all over the world gives me hope that we can change this world and make it a better place for all to live. Thank You for helping him on his journey and expanding his horizon and his mind as well as ours! Peace

  • Nancy Yeager

    Kelvin is a source of inspiration to me, and as a teacher I have been inspired by young men and women like him. His resourcefulness, determination and spirit, combined with his innate ability have made his community and our world a better place. What a beautiful spirit he is and may his bright light continue to shine.

  • Manya

    I was not surprised to see such a brilliant young mind in the rural areas of our planet earth,and I was inspired by this young man's perseverance and determination; but I was mostly moved by the fact that David brought him to MIT and emphatic relationship and care he provided for this young man being away from home. This is a true human being caring and seeing the other not just as an opportunity but as a whole person. for the most part this is what our world is missing, we provide but there is no emotional connection and attention to the human aspect of our being. great job Kelvin, Hooray to David

  • Mary Anne Cannavan

    I spent 3 tears in Lunsar in the early 1990"s. I knew that the boys and girls I taught were very smart and only needed a little help. I am too old to go back but I miss Sierra Leone.

  • Kristin Pedemonti

    So inspiring what we can do TOGETHER to foster innovation! The best part of this smaller interconnected world is Collaboration such as this. Wonderful! Thank you for sharing. We can ALL work to make these connections to give opportunity to people like Kelvin and David World wide. Promote with schools world wide; so many partnerships are Possible! I've a volunteer literacy project that connects culture through story; so I know first hand collaboration is KEY and expansive. LOVE, Peace and HUGS!

  • Peggy CoZi

    Kelvin, you are an outstanding individual full of inspired determination. Your highly developed social skills coupled with your highly skilled mind, will undoubtedly inspire people to do better! Thank you!

  • Daniele Watson

    I love, love, love this video. I am inspired by the fact that Kelvin found his niche and developed it by himself. Given his circumstances he still innovated a way to create. He didn't find an excuse and he didn't kept his circumstances from limiting what he could create. Love it. It was inside of him and he brought it out to share with the world. Absolutely amazing!

  • John

    Necessity is the mother of invention. Kelvin has discovered the majical ingredients of innovation in his part of the world where material resources and educational opportunities are sparce. There are undoubtedly millions more young men and women like Kelvin in every corner of our world. On the other hand, there are millions more young men and women who have access to relatively unlimited resources and educational opportunities but have yet to discover their capacity for innovation. In both cases, "necessity" begs for us as a community of teachers and mentors to accomodate the needs of our youth. Melding these two diverse groups via social media, "aspiring inventor" exchange programs, or scholarships could be mutually beneficial.

  • Margaret

    I spent 3 years in Sierra Leone in the early 1990's before the civil war began....I just cried my eyes out seeing Kelvin and his story...I hope and pray that this continues for Kelvin and all the "Kelvins" (boys AND girls) in this wonderful country! Tenki ya!

  • Nancy Caruso

    Everyone is born with curiosity and the ability to create. The only thing children need is the opportunity as they grow to practice that so they do not lose it. Hands on learning is the best way in my community to keep children inspired. That is what I do for a living with my Keep up the good work!

  • Scott Sheperd

    I can't tell you how much I loved this video. Kelvin is amazing and you know there are countless others like him all over the world. I think that innovation programs should be fostered and promoted in the inner city. If there are programs that I'm not aware of that is because they are not being promoted by the press. And David shows the importance of someone who cares and does something. I salute him.

  • Stephanie

    How genius us everywhere and just needs to be nurtured! Thank you for your time! <3

  • Herb

    This young man is clearly connected with the Universe.

  • marcia

    This is such an amazing story and should be seen in schools around our country. Why not set up an global innovators club/lab so that Kelvin Doe and others can be linked to youth everywhre. Let that be one of their first projects. There are so many young people starving for a global connection to each other to learn, share, communicate, collaborate and innovate.

  • Paula

    I was most inspired by Kelvin's commitment to help his community and country. He is clearly an extremely talented individual and am very happy that he has been "discovered" and offed a chance to foster his great talents and interests. Schools often do not foster these talents, and my guess is that most of his learning occurred through his own initiative outside of the school content.. The question is: how many other young and talented youngsters are out there, without the reach, the means and support. I support this initiative entirely!!!!! Excellent work and many thanks for creating the video-it has been very inspirational!

  • Kathy

    Thinkers and innovators are everywhere - they just need the mentorship, guidance and support that has come Kelvin's way. David is a gem!!

  • rebecca

    The idea of solving a problem in your community.

  • Ramesh Joshi

    The childs inspired me. Its really amazing and creative young mind :) hats off to him :)

  • Ghanshyam Prasad Sahu

    Yes its tru I m totally agree.......

  • cbbmo

    Totally inspiring! Get the word out to American High Schools,the Boy Scouts, the Girl Scouts,many young people would love to join and help your cause.

  • Don Kerr

    Great work,try to tie in micro loans to kids or their parents.

  • Page 1

  • Learn more about Kelvin Doe in this article written for CNN's What Next blog by David Sengeh.
  • THNKR is a YouTube channel created by to tell stories that will "change your mind" - watch more videos of incredible prodigies.
  • Help support Kelvin and other young innovators like him.

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