He is Kelvin Doe, Sierra Leone's sensational innovator.
His rise to prominence was a truism of Earl Nightingale's assertion: "People with goals succeed because they know where they are going."
Born on 26th October, 1996 in Freetown, Sierra Leone, Kelvin, popularly known as DJ Focus was determined to take the rough with the smooth to make his mark.
Kelvin is known for his self-made engineering prowess with which he built his own radio station in his community, Dwozark, where he plays music and broadcasts news, talk shows under the name “DJ Focus”.
As a young boy, he whipped up ideas to chart a new way to develop his community and his country as a whole.
His knack for hard work and inventing new things made him an enviable figure in his community and his school.
Describing him, a member of his community said: “DJ Focus is serious and focused in school. He balances his radio talent with his studies very well. His music is also good.”
His success story began when he emerged the finalists in GMin's Innovate Salone idea competition, in which he built a generator from scrap.
At the competition, he was the commanding presence. His name stood above heads and shoulders as the dazzled the behemoth crowd with his engineering prowess.
Innovate Salone is a tech group founded by a Sierra Leonean Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) PhD student, David Sengeh.
Innovate Salone aims at igniting and supporting the creativity in Sierra Leone youth. David met Kelvin at a Summer Innovation Camp in Sierra Leone that he organized.
The Camp challenges kids to think about the toughest problems in their community and have them solve in their best know-how. Kelvin applied to build a community radio to empower the community members.
He went ahead and built a radio station and people started listen religiously to his music and talk shows.
Kelvin continued to use discarded pieces of scrap that he collected from scrapyards to build transmitters, generators, and batteries, as well.
His feat drew commendations across the globe. He received an invitation to the US and consequently became the youngest person to ever participate in the “Visiting Practitioner's Program” at MIT.
His accomplishments were documented by radical Media and presented on their corporate YouTube channel. When the video went viral, the story was picked up by CNN, NBC News, and The Huffington Post.
He also participated at TEDxTeen and lectured to undergraduate engineering students at Harvard College even as he was awarded Presidential gold medal for his inventions by the President of Sierra Leone.
Grew up against the odds
Kelvin's success story was not devoid of challenges. It all started immediately he was conceived. His father ordered his mother to abort the pregnancy, she refused vehemently and kept the pregnancy. Her mother's disobedience to keep the pregnancy made his father wedged on her the responsibility of raising him and his siblings alone.
Recounting his ordeals, Kelvin said: “I was brought up by my mum. It was very difficult being brought up by a single parent. There were a lot of constraints. I never want to talk about that.”
After his birth, he was driven by a dogged determination to prove his mettle by utilising his skills and talents to develop his community and his country.
Initially, his family scolded him several times for picking things up from waste bins, but he never gave up.
“When he started his career, we were provoking him, ‘what kind of nonsense is this boy doing?’ but a day like today we find out that he is a talented person. He has proved that to me by making generators and they are operating” said Kelvin’s grandpa.
Extolling his achievement, Naasu Fofanah – Presidential advisor said:
“You can have kids with all sorts of technologies but they are out there doing drugs, being rogues. But here is a kid who has been going to the garbage and basically messing his mother’s very tiny living room with all sort of dirt.”