Rethaka Repurpose School Bags

Repurpose schoolbag is an upcycled solar-powered schoolbag.

The problem we aim to solve:

School children not being able to study after dark, due to lack of access to electricity.

The solution our project offers:

Creating dual-purpose school bags embedded with portable solar panel.

The impact our project had so far:

Produced 15 000 school bags in 3 years, currently working with cooperative that employs 30 women.

No access to basic schooling needs.

Repurpose Schoolbags bring together recycling, solar energy and education for children. Designed to do more with less, they are made from 20 recycled plastic bags and integrate a solar panel that charges on the walk to school and later transforms into a light for children to study after dark. As well as reflective material on the bag to make it more visible when walking on the street.

School children in rural areas have the following barriers to education: they lack dignity as they use plastic bags to carry their books, cannot study after dark due to high costs of kerosene and are not visible or safe on their long walks to school.

Solar powered schoolbags, made from plastic.

We start with having the audacity to uplift communities with uplifting ideas. We use innovation as a means for social change. We thrive on thinking differently about inherited struggles and daring to realise we already have in these, the solutions we seek. We make problems work for us, not control us.

Rethaka (Pty) Ltd


  • Awarded the Youth Ubuntu Award presented by President Cyril Ramaphosa in April 2018 for reflecting a positive image of South Africa internationally;
  • Southern Guild Design with Purpose Award 2017;
  • CEO Global Most Influential Woman in Manufacturing 2016 (SADC Region);
  • Forbes Woman Africa Innovator of the Year 2016;
  • Leader of Tomorrow Honouree 2016 (St Gallen Symposium Switzerland).



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