The Relationship of ‘The Boy who harnessed the Wind’ to Social Work
Art is one of the sources human beings have used to help communities to get solutions to their problems. While most forms of art may play a role in motivating the community, others go a long way in providing the best lessons for issues facing that community. The movie ‘The Boy Who harnessed the Wind’ is an example of that type of art. This paper analyses the film and attempts to find how it is related to social work.
The movie Stars a school going boy named William Kamkwamba living in a drought-stricken community in Malawi. William is gifted with the knowledge of electronics. He uses the skills to fix radios for neighbors and keeps collecting salvaged electronic parts. The economic state of that of his family and the entire community places him in a state of misery as they try to live ‘from hand to mouth.’ At one point, the boy is expelled from school, following the inability of his parents to pay school fees for his studies. However, a teacher who is dating his sister stands for him, and he gets permission to access the school library where he studies engineering concepts. As the pressure of drought increases, William’s family is robbed of its grain stores, and the village joins others in riots over government rationing. Others were overwhelmed and left the village. In an attempt to save his village from the problems, William decides to use his engineering skills and some of the salvaged materials he had collected to make a wind turbine, which is later used to draw water and irrigate crops. William’s innovation saved the village from famine.
A close look at the plot of this movie shows several actions that reflect social work. The main character William is used to perpetuating this theme. Essentially, social work entails participating in social activities in an attempt to enhance the wellbeing of communities. In their work, Mullaly & West (2017) identify several approaches to social work. These include the anti-oppressive and anti-privilege approaches of community practice. According to them, oppression can take different forms, which may be at personal, cultural, and structural levels. In the case of ‘The Boy who harnessed the Wind’ movie, William’s community is facing oppression from the government, which is exposing them to rationing. Hence they feel the pressure of the famine. Additionally, Mullaly & West outline various approaches that citizens can take to challenge the discriminative privilege and oppression.
Critical consciousness is one of the best ways people in oppressed communities or subgroups can use to come up with solutions to the problems. It involves taking actions against oppression that is reflected by the understanding of the world. In the movie, William uses the critical consciousness when he learns about a deeper understanding of the political contradictions which are exposing them to the problem of famine and hunger. He uses this understanding to come up with the solution for this kind of oppression when he uses salvage materials to come up with a wind turbine that allows his community to sow crops and fight famine. A close look at his actions is sufficient evidence that he employed concepts of social work to offer solutions to his community.
‘The Boy who harnessed the Wind’ is one of a kind movie that reflects the ideas of social work. The film can be a good source of inspiration for the people looking for ways to solve the social problems emanating from oppression and privilege.