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!
08 December 2011
Meet the Team: Jennifer Jones
Tell us a bit about yourself.
I have lived in Bendigo in Central Victoria since 2006, and I love it dearly for its extra friendly people and its history. Bendigo was a prosperous Goldfields town, and thankfully many of the buildings are still standing.
I am a very keen family historian, studying for a Certificate of Genealogical Studies and considering going on to do the Diploma. After over 33 years of running my own automotive business with my now ex-husband, I currently work in office administration. I love my job more than I expected, so I work much longer hours than I intended. That means my time spent on family history and research is limited until I retire.
My other passion is fitness, particularly cycling. I have ridden many kilometres in Victoria, New South Wales, South Australia and Queensland, plus some memorable riding in London and Wales. I am the proud mother of three children and two adorable grandsons.
How did you hear about the Genealogists for Families Project?
I read about it on Twitter and I thought it was a worthy cause that I would love to be involved with, one day when I had more time. After a couple of weeks of reading very positive tweets about the loans that were being made, I realized that there was nothing stopping me from making a difference today. I joined that day and have made two loans so far. Very exciting.
What do lending and participating in this project mean to you?
I feel very honoured to be participating in this project. I love that we are empowering hard working individuals in very poor circumstances to help themselves and have some control over their future. This is going to give them and their families a much better future than they would otherwise have had. Genealogists have always been a very generous group of people, so it doesn't surprise me at all that this project has taken off so successfully.
Did you choose particular borrowers because their occupations or situations have some significance in your family history or your own life?
At first I wondered how I would choose a borrower. There were so many and all sounded worthy. I decided to give my loans to females as I feel they probably have more difficulty and face many more obstacles in operating a business, in some underprivileged countries. I decided to concentrate on agriculture due to its importance to health outcomes among the underprivileged. Having given it some more thought since, I've decided my next two loans will be to someone trying to get a start in the clothing business. In the 1990s my second cousins wife, when she was in her 80s, went to Timor and set up sewing co-operatives throughout the country. I'm sure she would love to know that I'm continuing on her tradition in my own small way.
Do you have a strategy for raising funds or saving for your $25 loans?
I have set aside $100 to go towards loans, as a starting point, and will continue to re-loan as the loans are paid back. My strategy is to try to get as many family and friends involved as possible. I see the Christmas period as an ideal time for this. I'm planning on gifting Kiva cards to some friends so they can choose their own borrower and hopefully become inspired to continue on. My personal feeling is that $25 to me is such a small amount, that doing without it will cause me no problem at all. I wouldn't even notice $25 less in my bank account. I feel so blessed to have an almost perfect life and to live in the lucky country. I am very fortunate to have excellent health as do my family. I feel so blessed that the need to give a struggling family the opportunity for a better lifestyle and better health outcomes is very strong in me.
What is your website?
Tracking Down The Family (http://jonesfamilyhistory.wordpress.com/). I am on Facebook and Twitter.
What are your family history interests?
The Taylor and Lloyd family who came to Australia from Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire Wales in 1841. In my maternal line, Waters, Morrison, Gilmour and Louden. These are mostly Scottish and Irish. Most of my ancestors became struggling farmers, which is another reason that I am drawn to this project.
I have always believed that one of the ways to be happy is to do what it takes to make others happy. This project is giving the opportunity of happiness to less fortunate families than mine, and that makes me very happy. I am looking forward to making more loans and following the success of the borrowers as they repay their loans.
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Join Genealogists for Families. Together we can make a difference!