A 13-year-old boy’s passion for making electronic toys in Somalia has won him local fame and a free education.
Guled Adan Abdi, from the northern town of Buhodle, taught himself how to make plastic toys from bits of discarded objects, and then worked out how to motorize them by studying real cars.
“I started making toys when I was younger,” he told the BBC Somali Service.
“I used to play with them without any motor. But later I said to myself: ‘Why don’t you make them into a moving machine?’
So far, he has constructed four electronic toys, including a truck and a plane, mainly using plastic from old cooking oil containers.
He has also invented a fan that can be used as a light at night.
Guled lives at home with his mother and older brother and sister, and goes to a school in Buhodle that is supported by Somalis in the diaspora.
But he has missed out on a lot of his education and is only in the third year at primary school – a class usually for eight year olds.
This is because his father disappeared in 2002 and is presumed dead.
His mother struggles to support the family by selling anjeera – Somali pancakes – so when things get tough financially, the family sometimes has to stay with relatives in a remote area where Guled cannot go to school.
But they have spent the last year in Buhodle, and Guled has dedicated hours to his inventions after school, which finishes at midday.
“From noon to late in the evening I usually work on my cars.
“I have never seen anyone make such things and I was not trained by anyone. I investigated and found out for example how a car’s tires turn.”
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