Repurpose Schoolbags are recycled shopping bags made into an upcycled schoolbag for underpriviliged learners, with a solar panel embedded within. Rethaka, a for profit, women-owned company in Rustenburg, was co-founded by Thato Kgatlhanye and Rea Ngwane, who took an opportunity to build a business that simultaneously gives to underprivileged children and transforms into a solar jar, at very little cost to the environment. The bags are made entirely from recycled and reinforced plastic shopping bags which are strong, durable and waterproof so learners won’t get their schoolbooks wet.
The bags are fitted with retro-reflective material which improves the bag’s visibility to help ensure child safety. The bags are aimed at the children who come from disadvantaged schools and who often have to walk far distances to get to school. During the long walk the backpacks are useful in two ways: as a typical comfortable schoolbag and a panel that gets charged from the sun. This solar panel addition can then be attached to what appears to be a Consol jar at home and used as a light, a sustainable and affordable alternative to an often hazardous, kerosene lamp.
If you like the idea and would like to get involved in this great initiative, you can become a Giving Partner, through the website.