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Schoolbags made from upcycled waste

Words by Smiley Team

In Ghana, thousands of water sachets – the local equivalent of bottles – litter the streets, gutters and public spaces, causing flooding and spreading disease. But there is hope for change. To tackle this mounting issue, local charity workers for School in a Bag Ghana are upcycling the waste into school bags packed with life-changing supplies for disadvantaged children.

Through a partnership with sustainable omega-3s supplement company Wiley’s Finest, the charity hopes to raise thousands to drive forward the initiative and help even more children. Between now and 1st October, the charity will receive 20 per cent of the value of every bottle of children’s products Beginners DHA and Elementary EPA, sold from stores and online.

“School in a Bag is a simple idea that works,” said Paul Farquhar, managing director of Wiley’s Finest UK. “The charity is the perfect partner for us; our ethically sourced Wild Alaskan Fish oil products transform children’s lives through improving health, and School in a Bag transforms children’s lives through education.”


To beat plastic pollution and raise employment levels, the charity employs local people to collect discarded water sachets, clean the soft plastic and sew it into school bags. 

Each bag costs £20 and is made up of 87 water sachets. They go to poor, orphaned, vulnerable, disadvantaged or disaster-affected children. When they open the bags, children discover school essentials such as stationery, as well as a face mask and hygiene kit, a water bottle, lunch box and Spork (a combined spoon and fork). 

Some bags also come with a LifeStraw, a reusable drinking device which filters water, removing all bacteria, viruses and microplastics so that children can drink clean water. 

Luke Simon created the organisation in memory of his brother Piers Simon, who died in the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami while the pair were visiting Thailand. He said: “Over 262 million children are deprived of an education, but through donations and fantastic fundraising campaigns like this we are helping to address the situation.” 

With the help of the supplements company, they hope to distribute hundreds more school bags, each with a trackable number so that every donor can connect with the child whose life they have improved.

To urge people to donate or support by buying the supplements, Luke added: “Can you imagine only having one pencil to last you for the entire academic year? Or being turned away from school lunch – your only meal of the day – because you don’t have any eating utensils? Or walking three hours each day to and from school in the searing heat with no water bottle? Together, with the funding from Wiley’s Finest UK, our SchoolBags will help change this.”

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This article aligns with the following UN SDGs

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