“It starts with people who lead purpose driven lives. Those who instead of looking at exhausted possibilities, look at the impossibilities. It’s having the courage to imagine a way out of despair.”

This is the inspiration that the team at Rethaka created, and ran with. They created Repurpose Schoolbags: sustainable, inventive schoolbags for some of the most disadvantaged school children in South Africa.

“It’s feeding a revolution of people who build their own doors instead of knocking on other people’s doors.  We use innovation as a means to social change and choose to zig while others zag.”

 Repurpose Schoolbags

Some of the Rethaka team

The bags themselves are incredible. They are made with 100% recycled plastic bag textile. They include a solar panel which charges on the walk to school and provides a solar lantern than can last up to 12 hours. They have retro-reflective material to keep the children visible when they travel to school. They are strong, durable and waterproof. They are creative and trendy. The list goes on and on…

 Repurpose Schoolbags

The repurpose schoolbags.

The process sees Rethaka work with what they call “Giving Partners”, a corporation or individual seeking to make a difference in a sustainable way, with an emphasis on helping children. The Giving Partners pick up the tab for the order, but are also a huge part of the handover event, where every child is gifted with a repurpose schoolbag.

These events are themed, and the Giving Partner is invited to place each bag on the child’s back, to really see the difference they are making. They’re also kept updated with the environmental impact they’ve had in helping the creation of the bags, and letters from the schoolchildren.

Rethaka is keen to identify no-fee schools in some of the most disadvantaged areas in South Africa to ensure they are helping the schoolchildren who need the resources the most. The bags are designed specifically to excite the children and provide them with as much as a schoolbag can. From the look of the smiles below, they are definitely doing the job!

To find out more about what Rethaka are doing, and to get involved, you can click here to visit their website.

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About Author

Helena Vine is currently studying History at the University of Edinburgh, and loves anything making the world a better place.