KOCHI: Ever heard of depositing ‘time’ in the bank? Lending valuable ‘hours’, instead of money, to get high returns in the future? Bringing this new concept to the country is India’s first Time Bank which was launched in Kochi on Friday.
The facility, which has its origins in Japan, has been introduced by a group of professionals, who include chemical engineers, social workers, architects, organic farmers, teachers, doctors and an interior designer.
They have come together with the belief that a little time and talent offered to help those in need can bring about a positive change in society.
“There is no financial aspect involved. Only your services and time are accounted for. The time that you spend in helping someone will be credited in your account. All the members can see this because they are connected through a common software,” said K K Jayan, coordinator of the Kochi Time Bank (KTB).
If an old ailing woman wants to go to the hospital, but has no one to accompany her, she can alert the members through an SOS message. Those who are interested can reply back through an SMS, Whatsapp message or more. “The time the person spends in helping the woman will be credited and he can later avail of the credited time in future,” said Jayan. “In other words, if somebody does two hours of work, he can ask help from another member, to a limit of two hours.”
The services of a doctor, gardener, driver, technician, plumber, and a cook can be availed of. At the moment, 50 members have registered at the KTB.
According to John Minu Mathew, another founding member, it will take some more time for the Time Bank to become operational.
KTB was launched by veteran journalist V P Ramachandran. The logo of the Bank was released by Kochouseph Chittilappily.
The founders believe that each member is an asset and has something of value to share with someone else. The KTB is also founded on the concept that all are equal and should enjoy mutual respect. The aim is to forego self-centeredness and have empathy for other human beings. They seek to celebrate life and doing service for others. Incidentally, in places like the USA and UK, there are more than 300 Time Banks.