Virtual Volunteering in Action. Paying it forward for food security.

Michelene Benson believes that happiness and fulfillment are a result of finding balance in our lives. Harmony is her sacred word, and she finds balance in her own life through giving and enriching the lives of others.

She has been using www.forgood.co.za for a few years, but during the COVID-19 pandemic, she became aware of how important sustainable food security is. She got in touch with Recruitagri and conducted a Management and Leadership Skills programme with their graduates.

Here is her story…

I live in Cape Town, South Africa and for the past 30 years I have worked in learning and development.  After obtaining a B.Soc.Sci at the University of Cape Town, I entered the world of alternative dispute resolution and my career lead me down many interesting paths, all of which invoked passion and enriched my life tremendously. 

The plan was to continue my academic studies but, three decades later, my story would include different chapters than the ones I imagined in my undergraduate years.  These experiences contributed significantly to my personal healing and development and it is no surprise that I began a coaching practice alongside my facilitation services. 

I found out about forgood a few years ago when I was looking for a volunteer opportunity.  I have been a member ever since and after the challenges of COVID-19, I wanted to contribute my services.  In 2020, I also received much needed medical care at Groote Schuur hospital which would otherwise have cost me approximately eighty thousand rand. I did not have the money but I do have critical skills to offer. I was desperate to pay it forward and decided to volunteer.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, I had become aware of how critical sustainable food security is.  After my surgery, I set up a crowdfunding campaign to support a container gardening project in the Overberg village of Suurbraak and when I saw Recruitagri’s profile on forgood, there was an immediate connection.  To assist farming graduates to find employment resonated deeply with me.

In addition, my daughter had completed her psychology honours degree in 2019 and finding employment was challenging – another connection I had to the farming graduates on the RecruitAgri programme.” 

I believe everything is connected and I knew helping the farming graduates would somehow help my daughter too.  Immediately after I offered my services to Recruitagri, my daughter landed her dream internship opportunity. 

It was absolutely wonderful working with Recruitagri

From the start, they communicated effectively, wasted no time and I felt that they valued and appreciated my offer.  I enjoyed my meeting with them and felt inspired by their mission. 

I set up an online learning programme for them and conducted the Management and Leadership Skills programme with the 2021 graduates.  I would like to think that I had some a role to play in the online programmes they now offer. 

I was enthused by the comment of one of the directors who mentioned that COVID-19 had some positive outcomes because they now have access to people in Cape Town and elsewhere with the requisite skills and expertise.

Michelene’s advice to prospective volunteers

For those who would like to volunteer, I would encourage you to take action.  Research shows that volunteering positively impacts your physical and emotional health. 

Consider your own passions and values when thinking about a cause.  Think about ways to offer time, resources and skills that make a big difference for others no matter how small it may seem to you. 

Don’t underestimate how interconnected things are.  There is purpose and meaning in everything.  Some causes may not respond as well and you might feel disappointed with some outcomes.  Keep at it though because there are miracles waiting to happen. 

Visit Recruitagri on forgood.

Have you tried Virtual Volunteering yet?



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