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15-Year-Old Kelvin Doe is an engineering whiz living in Sierra Leone who scours the trash bins for spare parts, which he uses to build batteries, generators and transmitters. Completely self-taught, Kelvin has created his own radio station where he broadcasts news and plays music under the moniker, DJ Focus.
Kelvin became the youngest person in history to be invited to the “Visiting Practitioner’s Program” at MIT. THNKR had exclusive access to Kelvin and his life-changing journey – experiencing the US for the first time, exploring incredible opportunities, contending with homesickness, and mapping out his future.
Here is a link to the Bobby Fala track in the video on SoundCloud:
Photos courtesy of Adam Cohn ( and Paula Aguilera
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my name is Calvin Doe aka DJ focus it's a young as DC Digimon full course I'm from Seattle and I love inventing Calvin is extraordinarily talented he literally goes to trash cans fine broken electronic parts in the garbage and makes stuff on his own he's taught himself how to do incredibly intricate things with very very little resources until we have not so much electricity lights who come once in a week and the rest of the month duck so I made my own battery to power lights empty Palacios Calvin's represents learn by making he takes apart looks at it tries to reverse-engineer it I made my own your family do transmitter it means an FM station because he wanted to give voice to the youth medicine generator because he needed it the generative supply currents to the radio station this is the capacitor and this is a spark plug this trick this is first time leaving his family's home is his first time leaving Sierra Leone and it's tough but it's an opportunity to create the future that he wants to leave it my name is David Morgan SNJ I'm from Sierra Leone I'm a PhD student at the MIT Media Lab where we have unlimited creative freedom I wanted to ensure that young people like carving also had this experience david has written visa letters found places for Kelvin to stay he's really gonna invested in him for quite many years Sierra Leone and many other African countries receive aid but it does not necessarily get us anywhere we are not looking into the future we are not designing my own future unless we have a host of young people who can think at any given point that here's a challenge this is a problem but it's an opportunity to solve it there won't be a steep growth in national development in my community the people can be able to debates about issues affecting our community and Seattle I see older I first met Kelvin at summer innovation town that I run in Sierra Leone that challenges kids to think about the toughest problems in their community and have them solve it Kelvin team applied to build an FM radio station for community empowerment people listened religiously to his radio station people text into the show and he reads the text from people it's very inspirational people normally call me did you focus in my community because I believe if you focus you can do invention perfectly I did a video digital first passing truth satisfaction is optional for your ultimate biology so Kelvin has in the United States for the past two weeks I learned a pretty busy schedule for him first went near the next day we were in Cambridge next week we have a talk with the president of Harvard University it's a big opportunity for me to learn from people who have experience and boom it's really how do you want the antenna like that yeah all right Kelvin had these RF transmitters that he had made and we spent yesterday kind of trying to figure out how we might be able to make some improvements all right hopefully that's big enough you ever use a drill like that before yeah be careful with it yeah I use this as a polymer okay this was a microphone we're converted to a power output I got that the killer from there doesn't be let's give it some audio cool we kind of get trapped in our own worlds and just as Calvin was getting his world expanded by coming here so am I getting my world expanded by interacting with him good we're going to do yeah he loves to work hard but he's a kid he's 15 outside while he also just want to play ping-pong he also just gonna play football I talked to him I said look Calvin think of me as he older brother tell me what's going on tell me what's tough to you is his first time leaving Sierra Leone so it's it's overwhelming it's just that I miss you in Sierra Leone you meet somebody head-to-head you have to say hi you acknowledge them and smile yeah when he gets on the train he says hi to people nobody recognizes it and also I love the food in America we're having eat some cereal Indian food Calvin logs so it's gonna be awesome what are you gonna get killing just how valley cuz I bought this and see if we have some how are you aunty you won't try me planting fake he miss his home a lot I miss my family so much expecially when more that hello yeah if I I'm not my mother is she was so excited because I'm people send good comments hurts me hello I want to help my family to provide our mother facility for them yes just that my father well for Kelvin his biggest challenge is going to be the scarcity of the materials and the information once it goes back here I can go in and pick up a resistor or whatever I want he now understands that there are many people who don't have to consider garbage so he has to go back whatever I think I've learned yeah I wish I'd with my friends colleagues loved ones and do it as a team he's done an amazing work but that's just the beginning my options and we are winning for people to use for electricity supply I want there to be many more Calvin's I did not want it to be 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 by in their neighborhood that is my aim to promote innovation in science among young people hi everyone this is David thanks so much for watching and we hoped you enjoyed the video the folks that think and I wanted to share Kelvin story in the hopes of starting the composition about how we can all foster innovation amongst young people around the world we're asking you to do two things first submit comments and response videos below telling us how you think we can promote innovation among young people in your community second if you are inspired by what you just saw support the nonprofit organization I found it by visiting Crowdrise comm slash innovate salon your donations will go directly to more innovation competitions that supports other young innovators like Calvin and if you want to see more inspiring videos like this one subscribe for free to thinker by clicking the subscribe button thanks very much I'm dizzy was and you are watching flower diseases