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This is not just a backpack

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<a href='http://www.repurposeschoolbags.com/' target='_blank'>Repurpose Schoolbags</a> is the first green initiative from Rethaka, a South Africa-based social startup founded by childhood friends-turned-business partners Thato Kgatlhanye and Rea Ngwane.Repurpose Schoolbags is the first inexperienced initiative from Rethaka, a South Africa-based social startup based by using childhood chums-became-trade partners Thato Kgatlhanye and Rea Ngwane.
The Repurpose Schoolbags were designed with the end users -- local schoolchildren -- in mind. Made from 100% recycled plastic, the upcycled backpack features a solar panel that charges during the day while the child is walking to school so that it doubles as a light source after dark to allow the student to finish their homework. Additionally strips of reflective material are included in the design for safety reasons so children walking to school are easily visible early in the morning.The Repurpose Schoolbags were designed with the end customers — local schoolchildren — in thoughts. Created From One Hundred% recycled plastic, the upcycled backpack includes a sun panel that fees all over the day While the newborn is walking to school so that it doubles as a light supply after dark to allow the coed to finish their homework. Moreover strips of reflective material are incorporated in the design for security reasons so children strolling to school are easily visible early in the morning.
Reusing upcycled plastic waste to produce backpacks for pupilis was a completely foreign concept to the town and the entrepreneurs have spent a lot of time to ensure their staff are well-trained.Reusing upcycled plastic waste to supply backpacks for pupilis was once a completely overseas idea to town and the entrepreneurs have spent plenty of time to make sure their personnel are neatly-trained.
The bags are made from local plastic waste gathered at schools or collected at landfill sites. Once it arrives at the factory, it is processed and upcycled into a textile before being sewn into backpacks complete with solar panels and reflective material.The Baggage are Constructed From native plastic waste gathered at colleges or accrued at landfill websites. Once it arrives at the manufacturing unit, it is processed and upcycled right into a fabric earlier than being sewn into backpacks complete with sunlight panels and reflective subject matter.
The duo grew up in Rustenburg, a traditionally mining town in South Africa's North West province. The bright young millennials wanted to develop a culture of entrepreneurship in their hometown while providing employment opportunities and helping their community in a meaningful way. The duo grew up in Rustenburg, a traditionally mining town in South Africa’s North West province. The Intense younger millennials wanted to increase a tradition of entrepreneurship in their hometown Whereas offering employment alternatives and serving to their neighborhood in a significant method.
 "We currently have a total of eight full-time staff: six of which are women. It's the kind of culture we've tried to have in our company is that it is very inclusive and a culture of creativity beyond measure," says Kgatlhanye. “We at the moment have a complete of eight full-time staff: six of which are ladies. It Can Be the roughly tradition We’ve Got tried to have in our company is that it is very inclusive and a culture of creativity beyond measure,” says Kgatlhanye.
Kgatlhanye says: "We looked around in our community and there was nothing that excited us. So for us it was a challenge to say 'If there's nothing in Rustenburg that we want to be a part of as young people, we can actually do something about it and register our company.' So we did exactly that -- do remarkable work that will involve other young people and make a difference."Kgatlhanye says: “We seemed around in our neighborhood and there used to be nothing that excited us. So for us it was a challenge to say ‘If there is nothing in Rustenburg that we wish to be part of as younger folks, we will if truth be told do one thing about it and register our firm.’ So we did precisely that — do exceptional work with a view to involve other young individuals and make a difference.”
The pair registered their company at 18. By the time they graduated from college, they had their startup idea and set about making it a reality. But at 21 (Kgathanye) and 22 years old (Ngwane), one of the hardest obstacles was to be taken seriously. Ngwane attributes their success so far to passion the two share for their work. "We didn't just start out as youngsters -- we've overcome every single obstacle that was thrown our way and that says to people lets take these young women seriously."The pair registered their company at 18. By The Point they graduated from faculty, they had their startup concept and set about making it a truth. But at 21 (Kgathanye) and 22 years previous (Ngwane), One Of The Crucial hardest limitations was once to be taken critically. Ngwane attributes their success to this point to ardour the 2 share for their work. “We didn’t simply Start out as children — We’ve Got overcome every single main issue that was thrown our manner and that claims to individuals lets take these younger ladies significantly.”
Due to the success of the startup, the pair are already making plans to enlarge their workforce to 20 people next year. While both are eager to continue growing as a company, Ngwane explains how becoming a leader at such a young age was daunting at first. "Being that leader in the factory space, we are working with women and men that are much older. In our culture, respect is a very important thing," she says. "From the onset they also established the role we played as the owners of the company and to a certain extent, not only should we respect them but they should respect us and our wishes."Because Of the success of the startup, the pair are already making plans to magnify their team of workers to 20 people next yr. While both are wanting to proceed rising as an organization, Ngwane explains how changing into a pacesetter at such a younger age used to be daunting at first. “Being that chief within the manufacturing facility space, we are working with women and men that are so much older. In our tradition, respect is an important thing,” she says. “From the onset they also centered the role we played because the house owners of The Corporate and to a definite extent, no longer best will have to we admire them But they must appreciate us and our needs.”

  • Repurpose schoolbags is a green initiative from Rethaka, a South Africa-based totally startup
  • Thato Kgatlhanye and Rea Ngwane based the startup to create certain exchange
  • Their 100% recycled plastic schoolbags double as a nightlight for schoolkids
  • The bag incorporates a sun panel that is charged throughout the walk to highschool

A Week, African Start-Up follows entrepreneurs in more than a few countries across the continent to peer how they are working to make their trade dreams turn out to be truth.

(CNN) — For Many children residing in rural and non-electrified elements of South Africa, the ultimate College bell does not just sign the top of Another day of learning. As An Alternative, it also method the start of an laborious trek through busy and dangerous roads to get again house in time to complete their homework ahead of sundown.

For Thato Kgatlhanye, this was once all too acquainted. She saw it every day in her place of birth of Rustenburg, a mining neighborhood within the North West province of South Africa.

So the young entrepreneur decided to do one thing about it.

“That Is our home. The Rationale we began this industry is we looked at our community and we wished to do work that matters,” explains Kgatlhanye.

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That work became Repurpose Schoolbags — the first inexperienced initiative from Rethaka, a social startup Kgatlhanye co-founded alongside childhood pal-turned-industry partner Rea Ngwane.

The millennial pair — aged simply 21 and 22 years outdated respectively — are taking advantage of the plastic waste in their region, upcycling it into 100% recycled plastic schoolbags for native deprived students.

But here’s the twist — the bag also doubles as a mild.

The backpacks function a sunlight panel in the flap — which expenses as the youngsters walk to high school — in addition to strips of reflective subject material, an added security design to make the youngsters Extra seen to traffic within the early hours.

A bright idea

“One Of The Vital first barriers these kids face is just not having the ability to finish their homework,” says Kgatlhanye, the first runner-up on the 2014 Anzhisha Prize, a pan-African award celebrating entrepreneurs aged 15-22 who’ve provide you with modern how you can remedy issues of their communities. “If A Child doesn’t have access to mild then as soon as the solar goes down there may be no longer time to do the rest However sleep.”

Kgatlhanye explains the design is to lend a hand bad households from using up candles which might otherwise have lasted an entire week. And the kids can center of attention on their homework with out caring about disrupting the household dynamic.

“A Child simply does no longer have the posh of burning the middle of the night oil and practising their math sums except 12 o’clock at night time because [the family] have one candle which used to be intended to be rationed for the whole week.”

After a six-month pilot section prior this yr, the inventive entrepreneurs are now distributing their 100% upcycled plastic baggage to colleges they’ve recognized around their howetown of Rustenburg.

The Explanation we began this business is we checked out our own group and we needed to do work that issues.
Thato Kgatlhanye, co-founding father of Rethaka, a South African social startup

The Company has also teamed up with local people and corporates who’re keen to quilt the price of The Bags on behalf of the scholars. Relying on their donation, these so-referred to as “giving partners” generally matched to a category, a grade or a faculty.

Overcoming challenges

Launched last year, Repurpose Schoolbags has grown to lately rent eight full-time staff — six of which might be women — Whereas its workshop produces around 20 luggage a day.

But, operating such a business hasn’t been without challenges. Kgatlhanye says there was once a good few screw ups at first — especially around training workforce. Another drawback the 2 young businesswomen confronted early on was once the shortage of infrastructure for plastic recycling. However Instead of letting this grow to be a setback, the pair went about creating it themselves.

“We get [plastic] from landfill sites and acquire it from faculties which have come on board as “Function fabric banks” and native colleges run campaigns to get students to herald plastic to be upcycled,” Kgatlhanye explains.

“The plastic comes to our workshop Where we process them right into a fabric, sew it up with industrial stitching machines and then we distribute,” she continues.

“Seeing the children imagine you can have waste and garbage … [that can be turned into] a lot Extra — you get kids being desirous about recycling, whereas prior to you’re in a rural area the idea that of upcycling is a overseas concept.

“But when it comes within the type of a tangible product that helps you out — now kids are choosing up litter across the neighborhood,” she provides.

New yr, new merchandise

Taking A Look ahead, the 2 have giant plans for the long run. Kgatlhanye says they are already laborious at work as they prepare to tackle an extra 12 staff to satisfy the rising demand for his or her baggage, as well as introduce new merchandise.

She says: “We Now Have gotten a huge passion from different international locations throughout Africa. Now We Have also started with product construction — having other things on the market like moral sense luggage constructed from the identical subject material that corporates can then purchase for his or her conferences and summits.

“We Now Have also began building with a luxury brand to develop things like clutches. As a part of the proceeds of the sales, we’ll be able to finance and subsidize these baggage.”

Pictures provided with the aid of Miora Rajaonary for Rising Innovation, a brand new journal of ingenious ideas and administration practices in the World South.

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