Monday, July 18, 2016

Blog: The Boy who saved a village Here is a great story about a child in a challenging situation, who applies his creativity and enthusiasm for invention to engineer a smart solution to overcome a big problem. Like most 13-year-old boys in Kenya, Richard Turere is responsible for safeguarding his family’s livestock. We are enemies, he says about the large-cat predators who come out of the nearby Nairobi National Park to prey on cows, goals and sheep. The villagers’ traditional solution to fend off the raiding lions has always been to stab or poison them. But Turere observed something that made it possible to stop killing the African lions. He noticed that the only time the lions did not perform their nocturnal livestock raids was when someone was walking around with a flashlight. The lions were afraid of people and probably equated the torch light with humans. His observation led to his invention of Lion Lights and his subsequent status as a village, and indeed the world’s wildlife heroes. Turere used LED bulbs from broken flashlights and wired them to a box with switches. Then he rigged an automated lighting system powered from solar panels and an old car battery the family used to operate their TV. His final step was to attach the Lion Lights to poles around the livestock boma and set them to flash in sequence, giving the impression that someone was walking around the enclosure with a torch. So it turned out that Turere’s invention of Lion Lights became an elegant way to protect his family’s cattle from lion attacks. His invention kept the lions away, and neighbors asked for similar set-ups to protect their livestock and the Kenyan government, who have paid millions of shillings to communities for livestock loss, was supportive of this hero’s invention that has stopped the lion predators 100%. Richard Turere story was discovered during a worldwide talent search last year in Kenya. He currently attends Brookhouse School where he won a scholarship as a result of his invention. Turere is an amazing example of what a kids with enthusiasm and creativity to solve a problem can achieve. This is what he says: One year ago, I was just a boy in the savanna grassland herding my father’s cows, and I used to see planes flying over, and I told myself that one day, I’ll be there inside. And here I am today. I got a chance to come by plane for my first time for my TED presentation. And Richard hasn’t seen anything yet, as his journey is just getting started. Enjoy! Much love! Jean

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