Students from Qatar University visit Stroud for fact-finding mission
AROUND a dozen students from Qatar University visited the Stroud headquarters of national voluntary organisation Timebanking UK as part of a fact-finding mission on Wednesday, August 21.
The visit, organised by the British Youth Council, was designed to give the international students an opportunity to learn more about the work of Timebanking UK.
Based at The Exchange in Brick Row, Stroud, TBUK helps build stronger communities by bringing volunteers together to assist one another.
During their two-hour visit, the students, who are based in the Qatari capital of Doha, were taught about the novel concept of timebanking and were given the chance to ask questions of the organisations representatives, including its founder Martin Simon.
In essence, timebanking aims to bring people together to share their skills.
For every hour a member volunteers, they are entitled to an hour’s help in return from another member.
Majd Al-Shibli, 23, who is originally from Sudan but works at Qatar University as a community service specialist, said he was now hoping to use the idea to set up a timebank in the small Gulf state.
"We don’t have a time bank in Qatar and we want to get the experience to set one up because we have heard about how successful they are here," he said.
"We have had the opportunity to see exactly how they are working here and now we have this knowledge we can implement it back in Doha."
Alex Farrow, of the British Youth Council, who accompanied the students on their visit, said: "They are trying to set up a time bank organisation in Qatar at the moment where they try and match up young people to volunteer organisations.
"Volunteering in Qatar is virtually non-existent at the moment so it is a very radical initiative that they are being introduced to."
Martin Simon, the founder of TBUK, said: "In Qatar they have a very traditional attitude to volunteering so we want to get them to think a bit more about what they can do.
"Timebanking is all about reciprocity, give and take. As humans we have always done that."
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