We spoke to volunteer Lana Al-Attar about the initiative that transforms good deeds into cold, hard cash
Time Out Bahrain staff
We spoke to volunteer Lana Al-Attar about the initiative that transforms good deeds into cold, hard cash.
Ever wished you could use your talents to help charity but been unsure where to start? After all, it might be easy if you’re a teacher or a health care professional but what if you’re a waitress who makes jewellery in her spare time or a pilates teacher or personal trainer.
They might not immediately be areas you’d think would be of use but that’s until you look at what Charitime is doing.
It’s a website conceived by Bahraini entrepreneur Yazin Al Irhayim and now run by volunteers Lana Al-Attar, Taimoor Dar and Ebrahim Al Mulla.
It won first place in the island’s first ever start up weekend in 2011 and, since then, after two years in development, the concept was officially launched in November 2013.
It’s a very simple barter concept which allows pretty much any skill to be used to raise cash for the charity of the skill donor’s choice. For example, if you need your CV updated and tweaked, you will find people who can do that for a donation to their favourite causes.
Want a pair of custom-made Aladdin pants, no problem, you can find someone to make those too.
You go online, look to see if there is a service you need and make the donation through Charitime.
Lana explained: ‘It’s an online bazaar, all funds raised go directly to an approved charity of the fundraiser’s choice.
‘We provide a way for people who feel passionate about causes to raise funds by doing what they do best, fundraisers donate everything they collect... neither Charitime nor the volunteers keep any of the funds raised. We at Charitime take care of all our own expenses, it’s pretty minimal considering we are purely online.’
The three-member volunteer team are all happily employed in some of the most reputable companies in Bahrain and see Charitime as their way of helping everyone give back to the community.
There are currently more than 20 fund raisers with more in the process of signing up and more than BD1050 has been raised in just a few months. Lana continued: ‘The range of goods and services is anything you would imagine finding at a local bazaar, anything from baked items to jewellery, drawings and clothing. We also have certified and talented professionals offering their services in exchange for donations. We do of course ensure that the products, services and donations are in compliance with the laws and customs of Bahrain.
‘Future plans include introducing small Bahraini companies on Charitime, allowing local businesses to advertise their products and giving people an increased incentive to try them at the same time as doing good.
‘It really isn’t rocket science, get in touch with us on email@example.com it would be our pleasure to get you started!’
Sarah Ulhaq is one of the participants. She’s offering a full make-up session for a BD12 donation to Qur’an Education in Africa. She said: ‘The reason I decided to do this is because, for me, there is nothing quite like the feeling of helping someone, whatever their circumstances are. We are so blessed and sometimes we take that for granted. I realised that not only can I make someone feel good by doing what I love, which is make-up, that love and desire to help can reach parts of the world that I can only dream of through this charity!’
Osama -Simi- Akle is also taking part, cooking his famous bashamal dishes for a BD10 donation to Bait Kum Baitna, a local initiative that rebuilds rundown homes. He said: ‘I’m delighted to help out my favourite charity, which in a way is what Charitime does. I personally know one of the founders and know how much effort goes into making it happen.The idea is doing something that you like to help those in need, helping charity has never been this much fun.’ For more information visit www.charitime.com.