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Today he’s 32. He’s got a degree in mechanical engineering from the University of California, Berkeley (where he was the commencement speaker for the college of engineering at his graduation in 2011). With his entrepreneurial spirit, he could have followed classmates to Silicon Valley.

But he didn’t.

In his TED Fellows talk in Vancouver this week, he explained how his personal history set him on a different path.

“My journey started when I was seven,” he said. “These deaths were traumatic but also very unnecessary. If the country had functioning health systems both my parents and my brother would be alive today.”

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