Have you ever spared your precious time in the imaginative world to question yourself on how hard and horrendous would life have been if there was no science and scientists? No bicycles, no medical drugs, no phones, no et cetera. Thumbs up to the worlds all-time greatest scientists; Newton, Aristotle, Darwin, Einstein et al.
People are fond of devising false connections that one needs to come from a family with conspicuous background to achieve great things in life. They say history repeats itself. This hasn’t acted as a barring tune of music to Mixon ‘Kanyama’ Faluweki, the inventor of Padoko charger.
Mixon’s photographic memories are more than fresh and he explains the routine hardship he undergone while young to keep himself at school. “I hard to walk barefooted for not less than one and half hour to reach Njereza primary school, the nearest to our village”. His parents have never tasted education, not even standard one; however despite living a hand to mouth life, they encouraged Mixon to go to school with the little they had.
Mixon “aka Padoko charger” Faluweki is the fifth born in the family of nine and he grew up as a village boy of Bwalo village, Traditional Authority Kasisi in Chikwawa district.
At a very tender age the Padoko Charger inventor begun capturing the attention of people in his village and surrounding areas with an amusing trap which he invented. “My interest in innovation started when I was at primary school, I remember designing a bird trap which was used to catch Nkhanga (guinea fowls) that used to destroy maize crops at our maize field which was near the game reserve”, the Blantyre Secondary School (BSS) alumni recalls. Instantly, Mixon’s innovation stole farmers heart to the extent that they hired him to plant his trap for them. Faluweki adds “I kept improving the trap to the extent that it was able to catch rabbits”.
Due to hard work, Mixon got selected to BSS and later he made it to University of Malawi, Chancellor College where currently he is on the verge of finalising a degree in Education (Science).
It is at Chancellor College while in a third year course of electronics where upon acknowledging that mobile phone usage is growing rapidly in rural areas that the notion to invent Padoko charger clept in. Padoko charger is a charger whose power is derived from a bicycle as one is riding it. He explains his driving factor “These people are already disadvantaged economically, but they have no options to join the world of technology since communication and access to information is becoming a human right”.
Amalgamating classroom work and other projects; lack of funds to purchase materials from outside countries and discouragement from friends were major deterring issues in the juvenile stages of the invention. “I had to use food allowance we get at college for buying materials for the project”
So far, Faluweki who is inspired by Thomas Edison the inventor of light bulb, last year received a global award as the Best Young Innovator by GIST-I 2014 competition at an event which took place in Morocco. He has been acclaimed by different organisations and at the university level. On Friday, Faluweki and other two innovators; Samson Fiado from Polytechnic college and Elijah Phiri will fry to Budapest, Hungary on a trip that has been organised by Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (MACRA). At the event participants from different countries will display various innovations that are fostering information communication technologies (ICT) development in their countries. Fiado is a Polytechnic student who developed the software called “Easy Books” while Phiri is a programmer and acting head of IT at Auction Holdings Limited (AHL) who has vast innovations in ICT.
Is it not appropriate then to slot in Padoko charger man at par with worlds upcoming greatest scientist? Is it not fair that we regard him as Malawi’s Thomas Edison? “Meanwhile I have in my mind an idea of building a light bulb that will not need electricity connection, or solar…” he reveals “I will not talk much now. I hope that before I depart this world I will have invented that device and it will mark a new era of lighting the world”. As he now has finally come up with Padoko Technologies where he is the managing director, Malawians should expect different innovations as he further says “The Company is research based hence every time we will be identifying electronic and electrical solutions to the society”. Should we then rush imploring him to reveal what is next from him? Or should we sit and relax while we charge our mobile phones while riding our bicycles to our fields, work; at Mulanje border, Chitipa and Nkhota-kota.
Faluweki advises other young people to shun away from underrating themselves when they have ideas that are different from majority. “Thinking differently is what brings change. Being confident and focused is what brings out your idea to the world; once you have an idea do not wait, move on and think of testing your idea. Consult relevant experts in the field of your idea and listen to their advice and chose those advises that will help you”.
In the nick of time, the 2014 Best Young Innovator, extends gratitude to the corporate world for being patient and calm as Padoko charger is poised to take Malawians and the rest of the world to the next level.
Viva Padoko charger! Viva faluweki! Viva Malawi!