"We have what we need if we use what we have" —Dr. Edgar Cahn.

When money for social programs had dried up, Edgar Cahn created Time Banking created the reciprocal service exchange that uses units of time as currency and is an alternative monetary system. With this having happened in the US, many would think that such a system would not be needed in the UAE. The Time Dirham team thought otherwise: we don’t need a lack of funds for social programs to need the Time Banking system, rather, the Time Dirham allows everyone from kindergarten children with little pocket money bank accounts to housewives with no incomes of their own to contribute to satisfying unmet needs of others. This is with a currency beyond a monetary price – this refers to an hour’s worth of any person’s labour.

What philosophy is the Time Dirham based on?

Behind Time Dirham lies in five core values:

• We are all assets: Every human being has something to contribute.
• Some work is beyond price: Work needs to be redefined to value whatever it takes to build and improve our community.
• Helping works better with reciprocity: Let’s ask “how can we help each other build the world we both live in?”
• Every human being matters: Respect underlies everything we value. Respect supplies the heart and soul of a healthy community.
• We need each other: Networks are stronger than individuals.
People helping each other reweave communities of support, strength and trust. Special relations are built on commitment.

How does the system work?

Time Banking is about spending an hour doing something for someone in the community. That hour goes into your bank account as a Time Dirham. You can now spend your Time Dirham on having someone else do something for you. Your Time Dirhams don’t have to be sweeping the floors if that’s what you’re cringing from. Your Time Dirhams can be anything you enjoy that would meet someone’s needs, from baking a cake, to reading a story, to giving an art class. Point is to pull in someone to benefit and enjoy your hobbies and strengths with you.

You may still be wondering how you’ll be contributing to the Time Banking system, logging on to www.timedirham.ae might help. The list of services would give you ideas and maybe encourage you to start discovering new things you enjoy you weren’t really aware of.

Joining the Time Banking system means joining the community – you broaden your social circle, discover new skills and sleep peacefully at night knowing that you’re an active contributor to your community and people.

– Khamael Al Safi

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