Airi Kivi kindly wrote this article about the journey to the Bank of Happiness, which she founded in Estonia.
The Bank of Happiness is a website where people can exchange good deeds and express gratitude for every favour. All members use their real names on www.onnepank.ee/en
The Bank of Happiness has been operating for over a year now and has about 1500 members. Although this is not a great indicator, the Bank of Happiness is like a light house that is always somehow found in Estonia and in other countries. In addition, we have a very real plan of expansion to other countries.
The Bank of Happiness is also a social and a psychological project due to the noticeable difference in people’s demeanor regarding our service. There are some people who are reluctant to add an advert on our website claiming that they have nothing to offer or anything that he or she needs from others. At a time where people go berserk for any sale at the department store or attend a TV reality show to win something for free, socializing with fellow citizens in order to help them learn how to use the computer or ask them to give you a hand at building a new shelf is found difficult.
Is the indifference in our society decreasing or increasing? A 100 years ago people knew everyone in their village but now that we have the vast internet space to operate we do not need to communicate directly? Or maybe we do but we have grown apart from it and do not know how to get going again. Fortunately, there is something about the Bank of Happiness that inspires people. Perhaps it is the name but most definitely the idea as well. Many people write to us just to say that it is a great idea and to genuinely wish us good luck. Sometimes even people from foreign countries find the time to wish us luck and ask if the Bank of Happiness will ever operate in their country as well. There are also many people who send us their resumes and wish to contribute in the Bank of Happiness. Surprisingly (or maybe it makes perfect sense), those are the very people who work as professionals in our team. They have a lot of experience and often many other things in hand but yet they always find time.
So these are the two sides of us. As a psychologist, I find that our actions are closely related to our family where we are brought up and where we inherit our values. However, the society we live in has a big part in shaping our youth. We can see an increase in people’s awareness of who we are as human beings and what are our purposes in life. We can see more helpful website like ours guiding people to yoga, meditation, healthy lifestyle and other spiritually evolving activities.
In conclusion, we would like to wish good luck and much strength to all those good human beings who want to bring warmth and understanding to the world and hope that they will find enough love and devotion in order to do so!