Saturday, March 20, 2010

Timebank in the United Arab Emirates?!

You’ve heard of Time Dollars…now there is Time Dirhams
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
From Main Street Cash

For the Eye of Dubai news, the first time bank in the region, has officially launched in the United Arab Emirates. The organization introduces a new medium of exchange known as the ‘time dirham’, a currency which is equivalent to hours of time spent in service to other members of the time bank community.

“The idea is really fresh out here in the GCC,” says Shymaa Binbrek, Co-Founder of the Time Dirham and an Emirati living in Dubai. “People from all walks of life have the opportunity to become part of a valuable force and allow them to convert their free time into time dirhams by serving other members of the community.”

The traditional monetary system allows members of society to earn money in dirhams which can be traded for goods and services which satisfy both basic needs and luxuries. One issue that arises, however, is that from the moment that barter went out of fashion and gave way to more efficient systems of trade like cash, emphasis has been placed more and more on the mechanical nature of the interaction and less so on the social value of the exchange.

“The time dirham balances the scales, so to speak;” says Amir-Esmaeil Bozorgzadeh, another Founder of the Time Dirham. “It allows members of the community to exchange skills and services without the necessity of direct cost or barter, so every hour is valuable independent of who the hour is from. Any one hour of service to the time bank community earns them a time dirham which they can then use to receive an hour of service in return. It is what is referred to as a complementary currency.”

In a survey conducted by YouGov Siraj between January 19th and 25th 2010, 88% of respondents stated that it was the responsibility of the people of a city to bring their community together. A further 82% agreed that they possess special skills, talents or monetary support which they could use to give back to the community in the form of personal contributions.

“These findings support the need for organizations such as the time bank, to empower residents to take more active roles in strengthening their communities, and to enhance the ties within them (between UAE Nationals and expatriates alike) by providing a platform for communities to come together” says Bozorgzadeh.

To learn more about the Time Dirham or join the community, visit their website or see below for direct contact details.

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