Archive for education

All Natural Hair Product

Leanna Archer was only nine years old when neighbors and friends started asking what hair products she used, and where they could get some for themselves. She started packaging samples of her Haitian great-grandmother’s secret hair product recipes in Gerber jars and giving them out to friends until people began showing up at her door with money asking how much they could get with the money they had to offer.

Fast forward to age eleven, where Leanna was selling more than ever before and launched her initial brand, Leanna’s Hair. Her all-natural hair products, with no parabens, sulfates, or other harsh chemicals, started selling all across the country and expanded to world-wide. Surprisingly, one of her top buying countries is Singapore. A few years later she re-branded as Leanna’s Essentials, which has remained the brand’s name.

Leanna’s Haitian background influenced her greatly, and in 2008 she visited the country for the first time. After seeing the poverty and pain, she started the Leanna Archer Education Foundation,¬†which supported over 200 Haitian children with their education and basic needs. She became the youngest person to ever ring the NASDAQ opening bell on Wall Street at age 13, and her foundation was endorsed by Janet Jackson. Leanna has also been featured on numerous major media outlets, including Forbes, CNN, Time, ABC, and NBC to name just a few.

When she’s not selling her products, Leanna is travelling the country as a motivational speaker and guest lecturer at universities. Her hope is to become a politician, and use her influence to help impact the lives of even more people. What started as a secret recipe from her great-grandmother grew to become a multi-faceted empire. While no longer alive, her great-grandmother saw much of Leanna’s success, and was proud to the very end. Leanna found a need in natural hair care, and that opportunity has become a chance to change the world.

Solar Schoolbags

When Thato Kgatlhanye was 18 and fresh out of high school, she knew she wanted to do something for the underprivileged communities in South Africa where she grew up. She and her friend Rea Ngwane immediately founded the social enterprise ‘Rethaka’ without a single clue what they were going to do. 2 years later, they found the idea that would impact thousands of children across South Africa.

At age 21 in 2014, Thato Kgatlhanye founded the social enterprise Repurpose Schoolbags which takes plastic bags, upcycles them into durable schoolbags, and installs solar-powered lighting on the outside. The bag charges in the sun during the day, and turns into a portable light for the children to study with at night. It is also made with reflective material so the children are easily visible to traffic on their way to and from school.

The idea was inspired by Thato’s mother and the local impoverished communities of South Africa. Thato’s mother studied by candlelight when she was a child, and usually the candle would only last until Wednesday of the school week, meaning she couldn’t study on Thursday or Friday. Currently, many children in South Africa use plastic bags as schoolbags, and don’t have adequate lighting to study after school. Thato wanted to provide a sustainable solution, and so Repurpose Schoolbags was born.

Thato plans to light up 24 African nations, and has won over $40,000 in business competitions to sustain the enterprise. Her business’s impact is growing, and she was featured on the front of Forbes in February 2016. In the future she plans to expand the concept of solar lighting to raincoats for children, but for now her organization’s focus is on getting the solar schoolbags to as many children as possible. Her work has inspired many others, and I hope to see her company featured more as her influence expands across Africa.

Photo courtesy of repurposeschoolbags.com