More than 89% of the Sierra Leone population does not have access to electricity or gas. Firewood and charcoal are often the only source of lighting or heat for common needs such as warmth, and cooking. Studying was difficult as there is no readily available means of light, and children often resort to studying in dark. Jeremiah Thoronka grew up in Sierra Leone in West Africa and, like three-quarters of the population, has had no access to electricity since childhood.
Growing up with his mother was difficult and they often had to use firewood or homemade lanterns to provide warmth and light in their home.
But homemade kerosene-powered lanterns are often dangerous and quickly start fires in many homes. Also, cutting firewood depletes the area’s forests and increases the likelihood of landslides which were a great deal of concern to him.
At the age of 10, Thoronka was sent to a private school on a scholarship, he discovered that the lack of lighting and electricity in his family was not an experience everybody has come across.
“Every day I move between two worlds,” he told the BBC. “There’s a lot of electricity in the school.”Jeremiah Thoronka
“I want to develop a more sustainable energy system, educate people about energy efficiency and stop the overuse of natural resources,” said Jeremiah. “It’s inefficient, costs millions of dollars, and drives so many people into energy poverty. Even in big cities, people cannot connect to the national network. There is an energy vacuum in the countryside.”Jeremiah Thoronka
Thoronka’s invention not only provided light, but also relied on kinetic energy rather than alternatives to natural gas or other green options such as solar or wind energy. Kinetic energy uses motion to control energy, and in Thoronka’s case, he took advantage of the energy from cars moving to and fro the highway
Jeremiah Thoronka has been recognized as a United Nations Academic Impact and Millennium Campus Network Fellow, and was also been invited to speak at the African Leadership University School of Wildlife Conservation Conference. This year, he has been named one of We Are Family Foundation’s Global Teen Leaders.