Thato Kgatlhanye and her solar powered schoolbags are changing lives in S.A


    In South Africa, a business to create up-cyled school bags with Integrated Solar Light Technology is making a difference in the lives of school kids.

    Repurpose Schoolbags, co-founded by Thato Kgatlhanye, is an environmentally-friendly innovation made from ‘upcycled’ plastic shopping bags with built-in solar technology that charges up during the day and transforms into a light at night.

    The bags allow school children to study at night in their homes where electricity is sporadic. They are also designed with reflective material, so that children are visible to traffic during their walk to and from school.


    But that’s not all, to produce the bags, the Repurpose team takes advantage of the plastic waste in their region, upcycling it into 100% recycled plastic schoolbags for local disadvantaged students.

    Thato Kgatlhanye and her co-founder, Rea Ngwane started Repurpose Schoolbags out of a need to impact young people and underprivileged communities.


    For many kids living in rural and non-electrified parts of South Africa, the final school bell doesn’t just signal the end of another day of learning. Instead, it also means the beginning of an arduous trek along busy and dangerous roads to get back home in time to complete their homework before sunset.

    For Thato Kgatlhanye, this was all too familiar. She saw it every day in her hometown of Rustenburg, a mining community in the North West province of South Africa. So the young entrepreneur decided to do something about it. And she did in the form of Repurpose Schoolbags.

    Thato  Kgatlhanye

    These 100% recycled plastic schoolbags are changing the lives of young learners – they are not only environmentally friendly, but they provide much needed renewable energy light sources for these young students. These are but a few reasons why Thato Kgatlhanye is our ecopreneur for the week.


    For more information, visit their website:


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