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Innovative Education

Lighting up African homes one Repurpose Schoolbag at a time

By 24th January 2016January 31st, 2016No Comments3 min read


Boy x Repurpose SchoolbagJohannesburg, South Africa. Repurpose Schoolbags, Africa’s first plastic textile manufactured backpack fitted with a solar panel is making great strides to reach their target of 20 000 bags for 2016.

Borne from a deep desire to create something from nothing, Repurpose Schoolbags were created from plastic which would have otherwise been discarded as waste. The Repurpose Schoolbag is fitted with a solar panel to absorb the sun’s energy on a child’s long walk to and from school then transforms into a light for the child to use at night to practise their reading and finish their math sums. The aim is to make going to school safer as well as doing homework at night and therefore Repurpose Schoolbags have incorporated retro-reflective material to the design of the bag to heighten a child’s visibility on the road as well as cancelled out the need for candles and kerosene

“What started off as a university creative assignment for our founder and CEO, Thato Kgatlhanye, has now turned into a beacon of hope and possibility not only for our team but also African children in need,” explained Rethaka brand manager, Phemelo Segoe.

Since the first order of Repurpose Schoolbags, they have been distributed in four local provinces such as Western Cape and North West and have also been exported to countries like Namibia, Mozambique and even Turkey.

Hard at work with 5000 Repurpose Schoolbags already donated and distributed, the Rethaka team is looking to take the Repurpose Schoolbag brand to at least 24 African countries and to do so they will need the help of Corporate Social Investment (CSI) managers, retail outlets, individuals and anyone with a desire to make a difference to become a Giving Partner today.

Each Repurpose Schoolbag donation has a ‘Handover day’ attached to it where Giving Partners have the opportunity to see the faces of the children receiving their generous donation and will physically hand the bags over to them. “The moments shared with these children who have a desire to learn but are able to put in 100% due to circumstances motivate us as a team to do more, find more sponsors and ultimately change more lives”, concluded Phemelo Segoe.

Repurpose Schoolbags are manufactured by Rethaka, a black female owned for-profit enterprise that strives to resources Africa, not only with Repurpose Schoolbags but new forms of energy with the aim of the leading the circular economy in Africa.

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