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How Education Can Create Hope During Violent Conflict

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind - Movie Analysis

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind is an inspiring account, based on a true story, of an African teenager who lit up his village via constructing a windmill. It is a story of how education can light up the world, both literally and symbolically.



Set in Malawi, the movie (based on a book of the same name) focuses on William, a young boy who finds himself born in the middle of drought, famine, and conflict. Early on in his life, William is forced to drop out of school and support his family due to severe poverty.

In the face of these adversities, William sneaks into the library and reads books. Owing to his passion for science, William is drawn to literature on electricity production. Eventually, he learns how to make a windmill to produce electricity. He was ostracized and persecuted by those around him, including his own family, as people in his village refused to believe that it is possible to create electricity from wind. However, after overcoming several challenges, he is able to achieve his dream and he transforms the life of everyone around him forever.

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind Official Trailer


The story of William is a story of hope. More specifically, it is a story of how education can create hope in the face of conflict. It is a story that goes on to show how education can transform communities no matter how severe the situation they face is. At the same time, however, The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind is a story of a miracle, and miracles are rare.

It would be foolish to expect every young child in Africa and the Global South to do something miraculous like William. This is not to say that no child can be as intelligent and as driven as William, but rather to say that for the vast majority of children, poverty and conflict prevents them from unlocking their full potential. For example, girls in the rural areas of Pakistan would be unable to go to the library to read books like William did because it is likely that there is no library in a close vicinity and because their mobility is severely restricted.

In light of these issues, it is crucial for governments and policymakers to realize their role. Miracles like the one William created can only come about once there is basic infrastructure that promotes education. If governments fail to do their job, then stories like these remain miracles - in an ideal world, we want them to become common occurrences. I will leave you with an ever relevant quote by Malala Yousafzai:

"One child, one teacher, one book, one pen, can change the world."

Thank you for reading!

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