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!

01 December 2011

Meet the Team: Kirsty Wilkinson

This week's guest post is by Genealogists for Families team member Kirsty Wilkinson from the UK.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I live in Edinburgh, Scotland but am originally from Worcestershire, England. I'm a professional genealogist and run the 'My Ain Folk' family history research service. Genealogy fills most of my time but I also enjoy going to the cinema and occasionally playing video games (I'm a big Professor Layton fan).

How did you hear about the Genealogists for Families project?

I'd seen a few of my Facebook friends posting about Kiva and thought it seemed like a great scheme but never actually got around to joining. When I heard about the Genealogists for Families project on Twitter I thought it was time I got involved.

What do lending and participating in this project mean to you?

As someone who is self-employed I'm aware of some of the challenges of running a small business and would like to give a hand to others in a similar situation. I don't regularly give to charity but with Kiva I feel that my money (even if only a small sum) is really helping others to build a better future for themselves and their families.

Did you choose particular borrowers because their occupations or situations have some significance in your family history or your own life?

The loans I have made have been to assist people to expand their businesses and increase their income as I feel this has the best chance of improving their situation in the long term. I haven't chosen borrowers with particular occupations but, in the spirit of the Genealogists for Families project, I have selected people who are working to support families. For example, I chose a borrower who is supporting both his father and his young daughter through his business.

Do you have a strategy for raising funds or saving for your $25 loans?

My plan is to make one loan a month, which is a realistic goal for me financially. In terms of genealogy, I think of it as the equivalent of spending an extra day at the ScotlandsPeople Centre each month. Once my loans are repaid I plan to use the money to fund further loans.

What is your Web site?

My genealogy business website is My Ain Folk (www.myainfolk.com).

What are your family history research interests?

Professionally, I specialise in researching at the main Scottish archives and libraries including the ScotlandsPeople Centre, the National Records (formerly National Archives) of Scotland and the National Library of Scotland. My own ancestry is a mix of English, Scottish and Irish and these days is rather neglected!
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Join Genealogists for Families. Together we can make a difference!

3 comments:

  1. Kirsty, thanks for joining the Genealogists for Families team. I know what you mean about the challenges of running a small business; and like you, I have been neglecting my family tree because I am so busy doing research for clients.

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  2. I'm glad to hear about your Kiva Team. If I weren't already on the Cincinnati Team, I'd join you.

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  3. Kathy, did you know that you can join more than one Kiva team? Each time you make a loan you can select (from a drop-down list) which team to associate with that loan. You could, if you wish, join our team now so that you have the option of linking it to a loan sometime in the future - perhaps to commemorate some special person or event in your family history.

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