August 31 2012

Time for Good: A Humanitarian Social Platform in Istanbul, Turkey

time instead of money

Have ever you tried to get services without using any regular exchange tools like money? Have you been to a bank where your savings are deposited as in units of “time?”

Zumbara is a social platform where you exchange services with other people and are paid by time as currency instead of money. Saved hours in the “piggy-box” could be spent to receive services from other people.  By this means, people enjoy sharing their abilities with others and learn to enrich their life without being bound to money.

After many years in corporate life, founder Ayşegül Güzel decided to use her interests of integrating communities and creating alternative economies, by using social media tools to enlarge this social responsibility project to wider crowds. She embellished these aims with the enduring Turkish culture of generosity and bounty of Anatolia; yet she brought the worldwide known idea of time banking to Turkey, as Zumbara. Ayşegül explains that Zumbara is a tool that places time at the core. As time is the most valuable commodity in human life, people can realize the joy of becoming healthier and happier societies by spending their time for each other, while sharing their abilities, knowledge, and experiences. As time is an equal currency for everyone, there is no value evaluation to services than “hourly” billing.

The co-founder Meltem Şendağ explains that Zumbara is a completely volunteer organization. Members of Zumbara, which already hit 8000, can join and exchange services for free. If you give 1 hour of service, you can earn and take services for 1 hour in return. Services include language teaching, yoga classes, walking someone’s dog, to professional text translating… The only limit is members’ interests! Zumbara is located in Tünel, Taksim and they call the building they settled in, the Time Center. It is a common point where everyone can use rooms to swap services. All the furniture inside, including the building itself is given to the use of Zumbara for free! The feeling of helping one another has come into life in Zumbara’s own creation. Meltem continues, that “the thing that ties us together is the feeling of completion, unlike economic reasons. Isn’t that important?”

Ayşegül describes their future goal of expanding sharing practices into the neighborhoods of Istanbul. She believes it would help so many people live happier lives if they “caught” community spirit. As Ayşegül speaks, the joyful Burning Man Festival in Black Rock Desert, USA comes to mind; why not have such a sharing festival in Turkey? Zumbara is doing a great job by being a change maker in people’s lives. Can you give other examples of sharing forms from your own country?

Credits: Images and data linked to sources.

Nazlı Ödevci

Nazlı Ödevci is a recent graduate of Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden with an M.Sc. in Design for Sustainable Development in Architecture. She holds a B.S. in Architecture from Istanbul Technical University in Istanbul, Turkey. Currently, Nazlı is working as an environmental specialist and LEED Green Associate in design phase of architectural projects in Turkey. She defines herself as a green design oriented urban & architectural intervention practitioner. She is currently residing in Istanbul but has strong connections to Swedish sustainable design practice.

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This entry was posted on Friday, August 31st, 2012 at 8:27 am and is filed under Branding, Content, Education and Careers, Environmental Non-Profit. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.


2 Responses to “Time for Good: A Humanitarian Social Platform in Istanbul, Turkey”

  1. Kaner Says:

    It is very innovative idea, especially in these days. Because of two reasons; Firstly, money is very important in these days, it is good to explain that money in not everything. Secondly, we are continuously repeating trends, such as fashion, and there is less innovation. However, we have to be careful when we are making groups or adding members to community. Members need to have diverse skills, otherwise with similar expertise, the system can be stop. Lastly, we generally like using people, especially if it is free. Before receiving services from others, every new member should have to serve some minimum hours to other group members.

  2. Nazlı Ödevci Says:

    Hi Kaner! Thanks for explanation of the system. How many different activities do people exchange so far?

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