In 2011 we won an award for Best New Community Project. We enable people without access to traditional banks (including many women) to expand their businesses, 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 $5 via Kiva Zip or $25 via Kiva. 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. Money 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!
22 December 2011
Meet the Team: Helen V. Smith
Tell us a bit about yourself.
I am a public health molecular epidemiologist (fancy type of scientist). I am also a researcher, author and speaker and have a wonderful time doing these. My major hobby (25-year obsession) is family history with swirls of medical and social history for flavour and life. I like my tech toys, and in my free time I love reading.
What do lending and participating in this project mean to you?
My family have had a history of helping people in need, with money or by giving a hand where needed, as Dad believed in making a difference. He was involved in Lions and on the social welfare committee of the Tramways where he worked. Mum and Dad also fostered children in the early years of my childhood. We had made loans through Kiva before (all of which had been repaid). I believe in paying forward and that anyone can make a difference. I was thrilled to become a member of Genealogists for Families.
Did you choose particular borrowers because their occupations or situations have some significance in your family history or your own life?
I tend to look for people who are trying to develop a small business, particularly women. I feel that this type of loan makes the biggest future impact in a community because possibilities become real to everyone. Women particularly because it is often very difficult for them to get a loan. In my time I have made loans that have assisted people to buy a sewing machine and an oven.
Do you have a strategy for raising funds or saving for your $25 loans?
One of my strategies for collecting the $25 is throwing those pesky 5c pieces into a jar. I often throw the other silver coins in as well to lighten my wallet but definitely the 5c. It doesn't take long to add up and $25 is the price of a few cups of coffee to us but as part of a Kiva loan, is life changing to others.
Web site or blog?
My main blog is at http://helenvsmithresearch.blogspot.com/ and you can find my others blogs from there.
Your main family history interests?
My main research interests are my Quested One Name Study (anywhere, anytime), Busby (Oxfordshire and Brisbane), Philpott, Amos, Hurrell in Kent, Eng, Rollason (Foleshill Warwickshire and Brisbane Queensland), Weeks, Spear in Devon Eng, Hamer and Lewis (Ludlow Shropshire) and Culley/Cullicoat (Mabe Cornwall). More of my interests are on my blog pages.
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Join Genealogists for Families. Together we can make a difference!