Self-Taught 15-Year-Old Sierra Leone Engineer Invited to MIT (Video)

There are some pretty amazing kids out there doing the best they can with whatever circumstances were given to them.  In areas of the world where little to no technological advancement has occurred, ideas are being born without any mentors, tools, and/or resources.

PRODIGIES is a bi-weekly series on YouTube that showcases the youngest and brightest as they challenge themselves to reach new heights and the stories behind them.  Kelvin Doe is a 15-year-old Sierra Leone native who admittedly loves inventing.  He’s taught himself how to make things like batteries, FM radio transmitter, and a generator out of need for these things in his community.

He said that his community doesn’t have much electricity.  The lights come on at night in his area once per week and then they don’t have any lights for the rest of the month.  That led to his battery invention, so that his neighbors and family could use the battery to light their homes.

He’s known as DJ Focus because of a valuable radio program that he broadcasts on FM radio.  He was able to create his generator for his station by using scraps.  He chose that name because he said:

“If you can focus you can do invention perfectly.”

He started the station to give “voice to the youth.”

Kelvin was discovered by fellow Sierra Leone native, David Sengeh, who is a Ph.D. student at MIT.  Sengeh directs Summer Innovation Camp in Sierra Leone and that is where he discovered Kelvin and his talents.  When he saw what Kelvin was able to create simply using spare parts from trash in his community, he knew he was someone special.

But even more special was Kelvin’s reasoning for his creations.  He begins to shed tears as he reveals to a camera:

“I want to help my family, to provide a facility for them…just to help my family.”

Through Sengeh’s efforts, MIT funded Doe’s travel and three-week stay at MIT through the program. His fantastic journey is documented in a candid video that follows Sengeh and Kelvin on his journey from his native country to America.  This visit was the first time Kelvin had ever been more than 10 miles from his home.

Sengeh’s motivation behind discovering the creative talents in children is to build bigger dreams and communities throughout the world:

“He’s done an amazing work, but that’s just the beginning… I want there to be many more Kelvins. I did not want it to be a one of thing.  It’s a movement. It’s how do we create thousands of young people who are inspired by making stuff and solving the problems that are in their neighborhood.”

His next project is to build a windmill for his community to use for electricity. You will be inspired…young and old.  It doesn’t take a lot to begin to build a new world. His talent for creating starts with his organic vision. 

article by J.C. Brooks via

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