In 2011 we won an award for Best New Community Project. Our goal is to enable people without access to traditional banks (including many women) to expand their businesses, support and educate their children, save for the future and raise themselves out of poverty. Through Kiva, a non-profit organisation working with microfinance institutions, you choose a borrower to support with a loan of just $25. Similar loans by other lenders are combined until the required total is reached. As your money is repaid (often in monthly instalments), you can withdraw it or lend it to someone else. ($25 that is loaned over and over again does more good than a one-time donation.) Join 'Genealogists for Families' - together we are making a difference!
29 December 2011
Meet the Team: Blanka Lednická
Tell us a bit about yourself.
I live in a small village in the Vysocina region, Czech Republic. I'm a professional genealogist for two and a half years (I have worked in IT area before, but studied history), focused on the family history in Bohemia, Moravia and Austrian part of Silesia. I'm married, have two very young daughters, two dogs, four cats and a large, about three hundred years old house. My hobbies - well, one large, genealogy; some smaller - travelling, reading, collecting tourist marks and probably something more can be found.
What do lending and participating in this project mean to you?
I studied international relations and security studies and this kind of help is the one I like most - to help people who want to help themselves. Every time there is some huge collection to feed the hungry people, I get angry because we are just teaching these people how to NOT take care for themselves. I support those projects which have some long-term goals - and small loans belong among them.
I joined Genealogists for Families because I belong among genealogists. And I felt this was the right thing to do - to connect with other people who have the same interests and help a bit more.
Did you choose particular borrowers because their occupations or situations have some significance in your family history or your own life?
I choose women - that's my main strategy, because I want to support those who are taken as the weaker ones. I prefer those people who are willing to create or sell something they have produced. When you take a look on my Kiva account, it's quite clear that I prefer African countries because I'm interested in them. My main subject during the IR study was Western Africa so I try to focus on this part of the continent, but it's not always easy to find the right person or group.
My ancestors were farmers and I know very well how hard it is to get enough food for whole family. So I also prefer those people who have more children (and send them to school). I also take a look on the field partner, on the number of people they have helped through Kiva and also Portfolio Yield, because I want to know how much money the field partner takes from those we are lending to.
Is there a borrower whose success story inspired you?
I joined Kiva after one TV news where microloans were described. I loved the idea and I decided to help too, because I can help. I have read about large borrowers who lent their money to hundreds of people later on, but what inspired me most was the fact that even I can help with just a little amount of money.
Do you have a strategy for raising funds or saving for your $25 loans?
I have done just a few loans on Kiva, but my strategy can be easily described as "someone paid the invoice to PayPal account, I can send some money to Kiva and do one more loan". This is just a small amount of money for me which I won't miss - $25 is about 18 beers in average Czech pub, one large package of diapers, 13.5 litres of gas...
Kiva loans have one thing in common - they are addictive!
What is your Web site or blog?
Czech Genealogy for Beginners (http://czechgenealogy.blogspot.com)
Professional website (www.familyresearch.cz)
And you can find me on Twitter (http://twitter.com/ClariciaCZ) or Facebook.
What are your main family history research interests?
Almost all my ancestors are from Bohemia or Moravia, just one line from Germany. Many of my ggg-grandfathers were farmers who lived their quiet lives in the Czech countryside. My main lines are Vetrovec (Rakovnik district), Bartl (Kolin district), Cudlik (Jihlava district) and Kralicek (Zdar n/Saz. district).
"Tradition does not mean preserving the ashes but keeping a flame alight." This is my motto and I try to keep the flames flaring. Judy, thanks a lot for this initiative.
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