In South Africa, solar school backpacks provide light for evening study

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There are still areas of the world that don't have adequate access to electricity. This means at night-time, entire communities are plunged into darkness unless they use costly, dangerous and polluting kerosene lanterns. We recently wrote about the Morro da Mineira Project, which has harnessed the energy of soccer players to power floodlights in Brazilian favelas. In South Africa, the recycled Repurpose school bags come equipped with solar panels to provide a renewable light source for kids in disconnected regions.

Despite the long distances walked to school every day, many children in poverty-stricken communities can't afford to buy their own bag to carry their books and homework. Repurpose has created a stylish and sturdy all-purpose backpack out of 100% recycled material from old plastic bags. Attached to the top is a small solar panel that's capable of capturing the sun's energy while they walk to school. When they arrive back home, the bag is capable of powering a small lamp for up to 12 hours so that they can complete their studies at night.

Repurpose works with no-fee schools that lack basic supplies, as well as ‘giving partners’ who are willing to fund the creation and delivery of the backpacks. After making a match, the schools are able to place orders to get the right sizes and quantity of bags for their pupils.

The scheme aims to make the trip to school easier for disadvantaged kids, while also extending their study time into the evenings, boosting their education in the process. Are there other ways to use renewable energy solutions to help the disconnected neighborhoods of the world?


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