We were all created for a purpose; to solve a problem, proffer solutions, ignite the fire of change and hope in the lives of others.
Everyone has a place, an assignment and a calling. To make the expected impact, each person must consciously seek to understand their place; their sphere of influence and take charge of it completely.
Tom Osborn couldn’t have risen to his place at a better time. Born in Awendo, western Kenya, the 18 year old experienced first -hand the unhealthy effect of constant exposure to charcoal smoke. He and his younger brother shared the task of gathering firewood and charcoal to help their mother with her daily cooking routine; Tom’s task was to light the cook stove daily and replace burnt out wood.
Cook stove emissions contain carbon dioxide, black carbon and methane that contribute to climate change and illnesses like; childhood pneumonia, emphysema, lung cancer, bronchitis, cardiovascular disease, low birth weight to mention a few.
To solve the nagging problem, the change maker set up a team of fellow school kids to research on how they could supply alternative forms of household energy to their community. Soon, the team came up with several innovative ideas, making Tom’s task a lot easier.
With his cash prize of US$3,000 from the Anzisha Prize and little savings, he founded Greenchar; with the objective of transforming the Kenyan cooking environment and putting huge smiles on the faces of fellow Kenyans; especially the women folk.
The company manufactures charcoal briquettes out of agricultural waste and also distributes clean cook stoves that maximize the efficiency of the briquettes. Amazingly, the charcoal blocks are smokeless, high energy and long lasting, as they are specially made from revitalized agricultural wastes thus providing an effective means of utilizing agricultural crops.
Now Kenyan women can cook without the fear of the devastating effects of smoke inhalation. Thanks to the young genius.
Tom is a winner of the Global Minimum Innovate Kenya, The Royal Commonwealth Society Young Persons Essay Award winner 2012 and a Golden Climate Environmental Project Olympiad Silver Medalist.
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