Share & Connect
Meet Kelvin Doe. He’s the 16 year old inventor that has recently been a hit among Youtube viewers. Doe was featured on THINKR, a media based initiative aimed at bringing out stories of people who are committed to bringing change. Within two weeks, it reached over 3 million people. In the 10-minute clip, a heart-warming story of Doe’s desire to help his family through his inventions is told.
Doe is from Sierra Leone and resources are a scarcity in his village. Yet he works wonders with the little he has. He has invented a battery, a generator, and an FM radio transmitter (which is where DJ Focus struts his voice).
“They call me DJ Focus, because I believe that if you focus, you can do an invention perfectly,” said Kelvin Doe.
Kelvin Doe’s uncomplicated concept hits home for some.
In Doe’s village, there is a lack of electricity; lights are turned on only once a week. Some people would think of saving money to buy a portable generator or batteries, to help them out. Doe begs to differ. He has made both himself. He studied a store-bought battery, and reverse-engineered it to make his own battery out of soda, acid and metal. He uses it to power lights in his neighbors’ houses. Sometimes they give him a small stipend to buy more acid so he can make more batteries.
The idea for the radio transmitter emerged during a ‘Summer Innovation Camp’ in Sierra Leone. It was organized by David Sengeh, a homegrown Sierra Leonean, who is currently a PhD student at MIT. The young campers were challenged to think about issues faced by their community and to seek ways to solve them. Doe’s team’s answer was the radio transmitter, which they thought could be a platform for the villagers to discuss community issues.
The core value that drives Doe is the communal spirit, the deep-felt yearning to help his family, to help his village. Urban rich kids struggle to understand the plight of people not as fortunate as them, let alone to solve problems in their own city. Since Doe was 13, he has understood the need to bring positive change in one’s own community.
The moving thing about Doe is his unselfish character. Through Sengeh’s help, Doe was invited to be a guest resident at MIT for 3 weeks. Doe made the trip to the US, stepping out of Sierra Leone for the first time. After learning so much from there, all he wanted to do was to share the experience and knowledge with his friends and family the moment he got home.
Some universities in the UK, Australia and New Zealand partner with ‘Engineers without Borders’ through the EWB Challenge. In this challenge, students are given a rural village from a third-world country to study and are tasked to choose a problem to solve. It is an excellent initiative for university students to think critically to solve third world matters. But even with these resources, many still don’t get it. It takes a person like Doe to remind everyone to be thankful for what they have, and to get out there and do something beneficial. And to remember to focus.