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!

30 May 2012

Mnatsakan needs our help urgently

Mnatsakan is a young entrepreneur who has a bakery where he makes lavash, an Armenian national bread. He needs investments to develop the bakery by buying special equipment to puddle the paste and flour to make lavash. This will allow him to expand his production and increase his sales, generating more income and creating improved living conditions for his family.

The funds he needs must be received by Kiva (as $25 loans by people like you and me) within the next three days. The 'Genealogists for Families' team is responding to this urgent call.

Because several team members made loans to Mnatsakan in a short space of time, his profile on Kiva zoomed up onto page one of the default ('popularity') listing. That means visitors to Kiva are much more likely to choose him. (What a great example of teamwork! Thanks, Mark, for bringing this special case to our attention.)

There is still a long way to go; so if you can help this hard working young man with a loan of just $25, please see www.kiva.org/lend/420519.

Update, 2 Jun 2012: The response to this was amazing. The loan was fully funded before the deadline, and 24 of the 57 lenders were Genealogists for Families members! Many enthusiastic people followed the loan's progress and commented via the team's Facebook page. Mark said, "Well done to the GFF team. I think this is what Kiva is all about. Lots of people getting together to make a real difference. I hope that lavash is good! There are a whole lot of people here with a little stake in this bakery."

Another borrower who needs more support is Gulchehra, who does beautiful gold embroidery. She has four children, and needs a loan to purchase plastic windows and other things to fix her house.

20 May 2012

Genealogists for Families: a Milestone


The Genealogists for Families project is less than eight months old, but today we reached a significant milestone.

Through the non-profit organisation Kiva, the Genealogists for Families team has now loaned a total of $15,000 to low-income borrowers without access to traditional banks. We have helped over 1,000 individuals to expand their small businesses so they can support their families, educate their children or install windows, running water etc in their homes.

(Postscript, 18 May 2013:  It is only one year since I wrote this, but the total amount loaned by our team has now reached a staggering $57,000+. That's because we have over 260 members who keep re-lending the same $25 each time it is repaid.)

The graph above shows the wide variety of small businesses that our loans are currently supporting. It does not include loans that have already been fully repaid. (Repeatedly lending the same $25 does so much more good than a one-time donation to charity!)

Please join the Genealogists for Families team - we are really making a difference! For a limited time, new members can make a free trial loan. It costs you nothing because it is sponsored by an anonymous donor.

You may be also interested in a series of articles in which team members write about their family history research interests and how these are linked to their experiences with Kiva.

02 May 2012

Meet the Team: Stephen Daglish

This week's guest post is by Genealogists for Families team member Stephen Daglish from Buckinghamshire, England (United Kingdom).

Tell us a bit about yourself.

A love of music but a sad lack of talent led me into a career in the administrative side of the music industry, working in areas such as rights, repertoire and royalties. This has also given me an opportunity to travel extensively around the world. My interest in genealogy was inspired by my wife's cousin from New Zealand. He researched her family tree and eventually persuaded me to look at mine. Having reached a road block, I began a one-name study which looks at the history of the surname, worldwide. I am also Registrar of the Guild of One-Name Studies.

How did you hear about the Genealogists for Families project?

Through the LostCousins newsletter (an excellent read, and very informative).

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

I find this an excellent way to use our interest in family history to connect with people looking for opportunities who can inspire us with their vision for their families and future.

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

My wife and I found that both our families moved to London in the Victorian era, setting up family businesses within a few streets of each other. We know that they needed help to set up and grow their businesses – so we tend to look for borrowers who may be working in similar trades.

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

Not really. I started with one loan and when that was part paid back I added enough to make another. I have just made my third loan. I have also used a Kiva card as a gift - a nice way to get others involved.

Your Web site?

Daglish One-Name Study (www.one-name.org/profiles/daglish.html), which has links to the fledgling Dalgleish study.

Your main family history interests?

My time is mostly devoted to my one-name studies for DAGLISH and DALGLEISH. Having worked on the Daglish name for many years, DNA testing confirmed the suspected but until then unproven link to the Scottish Dalgleish, and this is proving a new and interesting challenge.
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Join Genealogists for Families. Together we can make a difference!