Virtual Volunteering in Action. Building computers for impact!

Artem Markov, a Master’s student at Wits University interested in “strange hobbies”, created an offer on forgood to help a Cause by building up “new” computers using old PC components.

It was such an interesting offer, we were immediately curious what the outcome of it would be. The result was so incredible, we decided to find out more about how and why Artem decided to go about volunteering in such a unique way.

Here is his story

“I found out about forgood on a niche online community, when I asked around regarding any organisations that work to assemble old PC hardware for disadvantaged individuals or NGOs. Somebody suggested I look at www.forgood.co.za.

I had recently assembled my own PC, and had spent a lot of time learning about PC assembly, and the many components that go into building a functional PC. I felt that this knowledge could be useful to others, especially as I acquired more experience.

After creating the offer on forgood, I posted on that same forum and asked other members to donate any old hardware they weren’t using. Two individuals reached out to me and offered several old components, and even a complete tower to use as spare materials. One of the Causes who replied to my offer was Rhema Service Foundation Children’s Home. They had several old, non-functional PCs, including a few they were locked out of. I collected the PCs and worked on them over the course of a couple of weeks.”

Those that have special skills shouldn’t hesitate to reach out with an offer to perform small odd jobs. These can really help an NGO that is hanging on by a thread, and can in turn make the lives of countless others more bearable.

Mirriam Mpala, from Rhema Service Foundation Children’s Home with all the computers fixed by Artem.

The end result?

When I was finished, I had installed a less demanding alternative to Windows 10 on three of the PCs, made sure that each tower was clean and had the necessary components working, and completely replaced the oldest tower with the tower that was donated to me. This replacement tower is much better in every way, and will hopefully make for a much more pleasant experience to the children using it.

It was very heartening to think that disadvantaged youths can have access to the digital world, and that even someone’s second-hand “junk” and my beginner-level knowledge was enough to provide that. I hope to assist more people, as I still have components to use and knowledge to gain.

Why did Artem want to get involved with skills-based volunteering?

One thing I know about NGOs and charity organisations is that most of them lack everything from funding, to materials, to manpower. Often they run on the sheer passion and commitment of the staff, doing the best they can in spite of the many hardships they face. The COVID-19 pandemic has driven many people to desperation, poverty, and homelessness.

Despite this, there are charities and foundations that are able to care for those most in need in our country, and even the most basic assistance, such as a monetary donation, offering old textbooks, blankets, non-perishable food, or a bit of your time tutoring children or helping to cook food can go a long way.”

Would you like to use your “strange hobby” or interesting skills with one of our Causes? Creating an Offer is an easy way to explain exactly what you’d like to do, and then sending that message to a range of Causes who could possibly use your help. All you need to do is register or sign in, and then go to the Offer page. Try it!

9 thoughts

    1. It really is such an inspiring story – how Artem used his skills and interests to help an amazing Cause!

  1. This is such an inspiring story and I am so grateful for people like Artem.
    I have some (old) technology lying around my house that I would like to donate – I’m not sure whether any of the components could be used for computers, but if not, possibly they could be used for something else?

    1. We just love this story too! You never know how your old items can be used, why don’t you do what Artem did? Create an Offer on wwwforgood.co.za and see if any Causes can use them? Let us know how it goes!

  2. I am constantly inspired and uplifted by the beautiful, generous and thoughtful outreach of South Africans to other South Africans who could do with a helping hand.
    I am also constantly astounded by how resourceful and clever we are as a nation – what a story – convert some throwaways into a working PC. Here’s to you Artem!

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