Shining a light in the darkness…

…the darkness not because of load shedding. 
You are probably thinking what is this women on about?! This green initiative, called “Repurpose Schoolbags”, makes up-cycled schoolbags that double up as solar-powered lamps.
What’s more is the project comes from 22-year-old Thato Kgathlhanye and her friends, who wanted to do something that would have a small yet significant impact on the world. They founded Rethaka, which makes The Repurpose Schoolbag, an affordable, green and risk-free alternative for children.
Made from 100% RECYCLED PLASTIC BAG TEXTILE, the bag does more than just reduce waste and carry books. During the day, its RETRO-REFLECTIVE MATERIAL makes a child’s school walk safer, plus it charges the inbuilt solar-powered lamp, which can then be used to light up in evenings so that kids can do their homework without relying on candles or potentially dangerous kerosene lamps. It is even waterproof because they understand that there’s nothing worse than wet books and a child not being able to show off their completed homework.
According to the Unilever Bright Future campaign, which is encourages a better future, Rethaka’s factory in Rustenburg currently employs 17 full time staff, 13 of which are women, using a sustainable manufacturing process. Each schoolbag is made of 20 plastic shopping bags that are up-cycled into a textile and all offcuts are used to design a signature pattern on the bags.

That gives us something to think about, how often do you just dump your plastic bag in the bin when bringing home shopping? Here is someone who is making a difference in the lives of so many children using plastic shopping bags that we (you and me) mostly just bin.

I have placed my solar panel lid in the windowsill of my kitchen for it to charge as needed and we have had 2 load shedding nights since then and the light stayed bright for the entire 2.5 hours of living in darkness. My children have the privilege of being driven to school and back, to have people to help them with homework in the afternoon, so naturally it breaks my heart thinking of the children who do not have this.

This bag, the solar light can change their lives in such a big way and Bill Gates even loves the concept.


You can watch Thato in a video here:


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