You’ll wish you thought of Thato's life-changing business idea first

By admin
19 August 2015

Unilever is showcasing and celebrating remarkable young men and women who are playing their part in creating a bright future for South Africa.

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Unilever is showcasing and celebrating remarkable young men and women who are playing their part in creating a bright future for South Africa. “There has never been a better moment than the present to protect the planet for future generations.” – Paul Polman, Global CEO of Unilever.
'With this product we’re offering dignity, safety and access to light'

With these words in mind, the Unilever brightFuture campaign launched in South Africa on 1 June 2015. This global campaign shows the company’s commitment to creating a bright future for all. Unilever brightFuture is a platform that helps unite and amplify the efforts of a growing community of people who believe it’s possible to build a world where everyone lives well and sustainably. The campaign brings people together who inspire others to join in to make this the way everyone chooses to live and those who recognise that we can only make a real difference if we all work together to engage in small actions every day.

It began with a film titled The Way Kids See It, which captured the ideas of children from all over the world, including South Africa, on how to build a brightFuture. Unilever then challenged parents to inspire South Africa with their kids’ world-changing inventions and ideas by offering five bursaries of R10 000 as prizes for the best ideas.

Thato Kgatlhanye is one such an inspirational young woman.

Thato is the founder and CEO of Rethaka, a business with a social conscience. Her company’s first business venture was the Repurpose Schoolbag.

 

“The idea for the Repurpose Schoolbag came after looking at some of the learners’ problems: a lack of dignity and basic school materials and no source of light to study by at night,” Thato says. “Each schoolbag is made from 20 recycled plastic bags and integrates solar technology so the learner can study for up to 12 hours. It also features retro-reflective material that makes learners more visible and safe on their walk to school. With this product we’re offering dignity, safety and access to light.”

Her business has garnered international attention and awards, but Thato’s focus is on making a difference and contributing to the development of her community. Rethaka built its factory in Rustenburg, North West, and employs 17 full-time staff members. In 2015 Thato aims to produce 10 000 bags, increase her staff complement to 20, diversify product offerings and launch a new luxury brand to cater to a broader market.

If you’re inspired by Thato’s story you too can make a difference by visiting the Unilever brightFuture website. Take action by sharing articles and videos that inspire you and show your support by clicking on “I’m in”. Unilever would like to give South Africans the opportunity to become ambassadors for change and help them create a brightFuture for the country. Small actions can make a big impact.

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