A Bright Future
Starts with Sunlight
Can one person make a difference to the world? It’s a question that many of us have asked ourselves, including Thato Kgatlhanye. But the 22-year-old from South Africa has and is answering it in her own unique way.
Thato and her childhood friends wanted to be part of something special, a movement that would have a small impact on the world - so they founded Rethaka, a social startup with a purpose. Rethaka’s first green initiative is ‘Repurpose Schoolbags’, upcycled schoolbags that double up as solar-powered lamps.
Around the world, two billion people still have no access to electricity, which means studying in the evenings is both costly for families, and potentially life threatening. That’s because millions of families still rely on kerosene lamps. Fuel-based lamps, not only release 244 million tons of CO2 into the atmosphere every year, but according to the World Bank, breathing kerosene fumes has similar effects to smoking two packets of cigarettes a day. In India alone, approximately 350,000 children suffer burns every year, primarily from overturned kerosene lamps1.
Thato and her friends’ invention puts an end to children having to risk their health for their education. The Repurpose Schoolbag is an affordable, green and risk-free alternative for children. Made from recycled materials, it does more than just reduce waste and carry books. During the day, its reflective solar panel makes a child’s school walk safer, as well as charging the inbuilt solar-powered lamp, which can then be used to light up in evenings so that children can do their homework without relying on candles or kerosene lamps that can potentially cause damage to their health and to the environment.
With just one small investment, children can study safely and show the world their true potential.
Watch and share Thato’s journey in helping to create a bright future.