Repurpose’s Solar-Powered Schoolbags Do More Than Carry Stuff
Many South African schoolchildren are using these innovative Repurpose Schoolbags made from recycled shopping bags with a solar panel embedded within.
This is thanks to Rethaka, 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 lantern, 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 kids 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. On the Repurpose Schoolbag website it notes that the bags are aimed at the children who come from very poor areas of the country and who often have to walk far to get to school. During the long walk here 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 used as a light back at home, a sustainable and affordable alternative to a kerosene lamp.