Where there’s a will, there’s a way.

by Jan on November 4, 2011

CNN Hero Evans Wadongo shows how the lantern works to community members

2011 CNN Hero Evans Wadongo Image Courtesy of CNN

CNN’s Hero Evans Wadongo builds solar powered LED lights for communities in rural Africa. Wodango’s selflessness and determination is inspiring. Through his project has already brought light to 10,000 homes and intends to continue making lights that enable children to learn and excel, and save money so that families are better able to eat and meet the basics.

I can almost hear him say, “What if…” Wonder is the place where hope is born. Whether it is your personal dream, or a spontaneous, in-the-moment “aha!”, “I wonder…” is an essential question that has us think beyond what is just in front of us. Beyond that “aha” moment, beyond “I wonder” it takes action to fan the spark and bring our dreams into reality.

This project started because Wadongo wondered what would happen if he could adapt an LED and solar panel to make an inexpensive lantern for communities like the one where he grew up. It grew out of his good will, determination and desire to give back to his community what he would have loved to have as a school boy — the light to read and study at night, and the ability to meet his classmates on a level playing field.

I just feel like it’s right.

That’s what Wadongo, this gentle young man, says about giving up two meals a day to  bring light to children and families in rural Africa. Giving, sharing and caring about the welfare of others has a positive, physiological effect on us. It expands hope, not just for others, but our own sense of hope for ourselves and our lives.

Wadongo combined the creative force of “What if…” with hard work and determination to bring light to the world. That alone gives me hope for the world. It isn’t just what he’s doing, but that there are people like him, everyday heroes doing extraordinary things.