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 $25. Similar loans by other lenders are combined until the required total is reached. As your money is repaid 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!

12 January 2012

Meet the Team: Jill Ball

This week's guest post is by Genealogists for Families team member Jill Ball from New South Wales, Australia.

I am Jill Ball (aka GeniAus), a former librarian, teacher and IT specialist. Retired from full-time employment and fascinated by Web2.0 applications, I have embraced genealogy and family history with a passion. I will continue to be a Lifelong Learner while the brain holds up (see Continuing Genealogical Development on my blog).

I enjoy giving presentations and sharing my skills with other genealogists. My other passions are my family, travel, books and reading. My growing brood of grandchildren brings much joy and keeps me on my toes. Living in a semi-rural area on the outskirts of Sydney, I enjoy the leafy surroundings and peaceful environment (except for the sometimes raucous chorus of native birds). Living within an hour of the CBD allows me to enjoy the facilities and activities our beautiful city has to offer.

How did you hear about the Genealogists for Families project?

I had been following Carole Riley's efforts for Kiva and thought it was a great idea. When Judy formed the group, I heard about it on social media sites and took the plunge.

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

I am blessed living in Australia and like to share some of the resources I have with those less fortunate. We support a number of charities but I don't feel a real connection with them. Getting a begging letter each year and sending off a donation is cold and impersonal. I prefer giving loans rather than straight out donations.

With Kiva there is a sense of belonging. Joining with genealogists from all over the world for a common cause forges a deeper bond with that group. Being able to browse and select a project to support with a $25 loan makes one feel more connected to the recipient of the loan.

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

Firstly I chose women as the recipients of my loans. I don't have a particular strategy, I just browse through the projects to find an area or person that resonates with me. I lean towards loans that are nearly fully funded so that they can be closed off.

I selected a pharmacist for my first loan as I have a daughter a few years younger who is a pharmacist in Australia. When I compared the life of Tuvshinjargal in Mongolia with that of my daughter they were poles apart. Giving the loan to Tuvshinjargal not only enables her to stay afloat and support her family but it will make medicine available to the community in which she lives.

I chose Thu from Vietnam for my second loan. She is representative of many people I have seen in Asian countries who work hard on small street stalls to eke out a living. When we travel I try to support hardworking people like Thu by buying their wares. I do not bargain with them; I always pay the price they request for their wares to help them make a little more profit. Hopefully my loan will help Thu grow her business. For similar reasons I selected Conchita from the Philippines for my third loan.

For my fourth loan I decided to move from Asia to Africa. I chose Thiane who runs a fruit and vegetable business.

I would like to make more loans in the health and education areas but when I have been selecting projects there have been few available in these categories.

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

I don't have a particular strategy for raising funds. $25 that buys half a dozen cups of coffee in Australia can make a world of difference to the recipients of Kiva loans so from time to time I will dip into the family coffers and add a couple more loans.

What is your Web site or blog?

Geniaus (http://geniaus.blogspot.com)

What are your main family history interests?

My research interests can be found on the family website, http://www.geniaus.net. I don't think I will ever stop researching and the family history will never be completed.

Due to its dynamic nature I enjoy using digital media for publishing information on the ancestors. My interests around family history include blogging, the use of social media and the application of ICTs to enhance traditional research.
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Join Genealogists for Families. Together we can make a difference!


  1. Jill, thanks for your support for the Genealogists for Families project. After reading your excellent blogs for quite a while, I look forward to meeting you in person, perhaps at a Society of Australian Genealogists seminar in Sydney later in the year. Or are you going to Congress 2012 in Adelaide in March?

  2. I'm pleased you don't haggle. I get upset when I hear how people haggle for a lower price when the extra few dollars means nothing to the purchaser but so much for the seller.

  3. I agree with you & Sharon - quite often the difference is <$1 to us but each bit makes an impact on their economic well being. I also like the sense of engagement with both the community and also the recipients of the loans. We've made a few in Kenya because our daughter will be working there in an aid program.


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