From the Wall Street Journal Magazine:
“This is the sound of renewable education!” says Thomas Witherspoon, 37, founder of Ears to Our World, as he picks up a small portable radio and quickly cranks its handle, producing a high-pitched, wobbly whine. Inside, a dynamo charges the radio’s battery. Witherspoon has taken his love of shortwave radio and filtered it through his experience in the corporate world, devising a strategy to help the most people for the least money. ETOW distributes wind-up radios to isolated villages across Africa and into Belize and Romania, providing listeners with vital information. His radios are also proving to be disaster-relief heroes in earthquake-devastated Haiti.
“We give them to schools, and teachers use them to enhance the classroom experience,” Witherspoon says. “It’s not dependent on power. It’s not dependent on Internet or any other infrastructures.” Founded in 2008, ETOW has grown quickly, squeezing the most out of minimal funding by collaborating with established educational organizations, and by taking advantage of the one-to-many model inherent in broadcasting. “I’ve heard stories coming back from some of our partners that when someone’s listening to a radio, you can guarantee there’s going to be 10, 20 people listening at the same time,” Witherspoon says.
Read the full article at the Wall Street Journal website and consider expanding your radio hobby by donating to ETOW!