The Brilliant Innovation of The Repurpose Schoolbag

(3BL Media/Justmeans) - Every now and again, we stumble across ideas and projects that are making a real heartfelt difference to people’s lives, and when it directly impacts children there is nothing better. This is a powerful innovation project from South Africa involving school bags and it starts with a group of people who wondered if they could change the experience of going to school for a child living in a rural area and if so, what would it look like? Out of their design process they ended up creating something phenomenal: the ‘Repurpose Schoolbag.’

It’s made from recycling plastic bags into a textile equipped with ingenuity to glow in the dark through retro-reflective material that integrates solar technology. The solar panel charges during the child’s walk to school and transforms into a solar lantern to study for up to 12 hours. Many of these children leave for school early in the morning and need to be visible while walking. These special schoolbags are reflective, allowing these children to be seen and safe on the roads. The ‘Repurpose Schoolbag’ is also seriously cool and a lot of creativity went into to design to make them trendy and to stand out from the crowd, and if that wasn’t enough, they are also waterproof.

Yet this out of the box thinking does not stop there, as ‘The Repurpose schoolbag’ team identifies disadvantaged schools with children who lack basic school supplies and walk long distances to school. They then invite ‘Giving Partners’ to purchase or give donations towards Repurpose Schoolbags on behalf of learners. A ‘Giving Partner’ can either be a corporate or an individual who want to contribute to a sustainable cause focused on education and children. The Repurpose team then matches a ‘Giving Partner’ to a disadvantaged school and works with the ‘Partner’ to place orders for the right sizes and quantities of schoolbags and also for them to pick up the tab for the order placed.

The Repurpose Schoolbags address so many global issues in one sweep – it’s estimated that plastic pollution is costing developing and industrialised nations up to $1.27 billion annually as it threatens fishing, shipping and tourism. While kerosene lanterns and alternative means of lighting kill at least three million people each year, mostly children and women. Every 30 seconds someone, somewhere, dies in a road crash and ten are seriously injured. The toll is rising: the World Health Organisation (WHO) expects the number of deaths globally to reach nearly 2m a year by 2030, up from 1.3m now.  Poor and middle-income nations will see crashes match HIV/AIDS as a cause of death by 2030 and in the very poorest places, the WHO expects deaths almost to triple.

This one school bag’s pioneering innovation gives these vulnerable children the dignity to carry their books to school, to go to and from school safely and the ability to study in the evenings. Let’s get these life changing school bags trending #RepurposeSchoolbags 

Photo Credit: Repurpose Bag Website