Houston students giving electricity and water to kids in Zimbabwe

Some of Houston's smartest students are working to solve problems on a completely different continent.  The kids are coming up with solutions for a lack of water and electricity all the way in Zimbabwe.

When educator Ashley Lee called to tell me about her students building an entire system so kids in Africa will have electricity and water, I said oh that's cute their coming up with hypotheticals? No. These brilliant boys and girls are building the real thing and they've done it before.  A massive wind turbine towering over Houston’s Booker T. Washington High School was actually built by students and can power the school if the electricity goes out.

We paid a visit to the school finding we were not the only visitors.  Booker T. is also hosting 36 students from Rydings College, a middle and high school in Zimbabwe.  ”It's been amazing being here, having this opportunity to come here,” smiles 13-year-old Rydings College student Timuyamike Munikwa.

The kids from Africa are here learning to build a wind turbine and water filtration system in their homeland where power and clean water can be problematic.  ”We have had a bit of a problem with our electricity due to the fact that the dam levels have been going down due to the drought,” explains Rydings College Head Master Jona Kondo.

The STEM students at Booker T. Washington are dedicated to designing and building the prototype.  ”We didn't want the blades to be too top heavy so we used aluminum sheets, the lightest and most sturdy material we could use,” explains Booker T. Washington Sophomore Mikhaila Ward.

This all started after Booker T's Principal Dr. Carlos Phillips II visited Zimbabwe and couldn't believe the conditions.  So he called upon his students.  “We just feel very strongly about this project and we love to help,” smiles Ward.

”It's just my prayer that companies see what we're doing with energy and what students want to do to improve the world and to invest in our students,” explains Dr. Phillips.

“It's really going to help our community and our school,” says Munikwa.

The Houston students hope to visit Africa soon to help build the turbine.  Who'll pay for the trip?  ”I'm funding everything on faith.  Booker T Washington, our school namesake, he said success is not measured by what you accomplish in life, rather by the obstacles you overcome to achieve it,” says Dr. Phillips.

The Zimbabwe students will be here for 10 days.