The solar powered school bag is made by Rethaka, a start-up company from Africa who became an extraordinary breakthrough. This bag can light up in the dark and become a light in the house. The more amazing thing that this bag is made from plastic waste that is recycled to reduce pollution on earth.
Living in an area that does not have access to electricity is not easy. As is the case in South Africa, there are many problems arising from the lack of electricity and the conditions of deprivation of the population. For example, every day an average of three children in South Africa died on the streets. The installation of kerosene lanterns is quite a high risk because it can kill at least three million people each year and the majority of the victims are women and children.
Fortunately for those of us who live in cities with access to enormous lighting during the night because for many children living in impoverished villages in South Africa who do not get electricity, night time is a nightmare to them.
When the school bell rang, for the children there not only meant that the hours were over. It also marks the start of a tough struggle through the crowded and dangerous streets to get to the house on time and complete their homework before sunset.
Many school children cannot complete their homework because they can not study in the dark. Financial constraints make the families of children unable to buy enough candles to light their homes on a daily basis.
The condition is very common for Thato Kgatlhanye, this young woman sees the problem happening every day in her village in Rustenburg, precisely in a mining community in North West province, South Africa. Thato also decided to do something that can provide solutions to the problem.
Originally Thato had not yet thought about making a solar power school bag. She just thought to make a school bag from recycled material because she witnessed the students themselves carrying plastic bags containing textbooks.
That moment made her think to create a school bag by upcycling plastic garbage bags. However, one day while doing a product experiment, there was someone who conveyed the idea to Thato to create a light-emitting bag. The idea was then accepted and applied thato on her handbag product.
The bag is made of 100% crude plastic material that is environmentally friendly, waterproof, and with a unique design. Moreover, this bag can emit light in the dark.
Thato realizes that the problem facing schoolchildren in her village is not just the absence of the cost of buying bags, but also to complete their homework after school. What comes to mind when creating this environmentally friendly product is that if a child has no illumination at sunset, then there is nothing to do but sleep.
For that reason, Thato intends to help poor families who may only have one candle for a week so their children can focus on their homework without having to worry about the dynamics of their family life.
The bag made by Thato has a pocket in the center for storing solar panels. The panel can absorb sunlight and convert it into electrical energy. Charging energy on the panel can be done as long as the children carry it as they walk towards and back from school.
The solar panel will automatically funnel the solar power to the charger connected to it. Upon arriving home, the bag can turn the function into a lamp by simply inserting the charger into the lantern container and the light will radiate to fill the whole house. The lamp can be on for 6-12 hours.
The shoulder strap on the bag is also made of reflective material that can reflect light so as to facilitate the wearer through the dark streets at night. Thus, this bag became one way to illuminate the streets of South Africa that was not facilitated by streetlights.
With the making of this bag not only can help children in school, but also provide employment for adults. In addition, this product also participates to restore the earth by reducing plastic waste that pollutes the environment.
That proves that any unused waste can give new value that goes beyond the recycling of used goods. Nothing is impossible if we want to try it, as well as Thato trying to make changes by making solar powered school bag.