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Eco-preneur. Thato Kgatlhanye.

Eco-preneur. Thato Kgatlhanye founder of Rethaka Trading, South Africa.

Recycles plastic shopping bags into solar powered schoolbags that charge up during the day and transform into a light at night.

Thato Kgatlhanye launched her company when she was 18. As she was about to start her undergraduate degree, she came up with an idea to help underprivileged pupils who face challenges with their education. Rethaka – literally meaning “we are fellows” – encourages children to attend school and learn effectively.

We are not a charity, but a purpose-driven business that does what is right, not what is easy. Through our green innovations, we redefine societal problems into solutions. We make it our business to uncover sustainable opportunities that create a far-reaching impact for low-income communities, with a particular focus on children and women.

Thato, felt the need to do something about school kids in her community carrying books in plastic bags, and decided to re-purpose the bags making them durable and environmentally friendly. Thato is the runner up for the 2014 Anzisha Prize

Awards and recognitions.

  • Nelson Mandela Ubuntu Award for Youth Diplomacy

  • FORBES Africa 30 UNDER 30 Honouree

  • Most Influential Woman in Manufacturing & Engineering in Sub-Saharan Africa

  • ELLE Impact Award

  • Innovator Of The Year

  • Anzisha Prize (3rd Place)

  • Cartier Women's Initiative Award (South African Laureate)

  • Special Ministerial Award- For Public Service

  • SAB Foundation Social Innovation Award (3rd Place)

  • Samsung Student Excellence Award

With this bright young mind, anything is possible. Get ready to listen to your rubbish bin.

Pic and credit Thato Kgatlhanye.

Curator Munllonch

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