29 September 2011

Genealogists for Families: keeping the memory alive (Thankful Thursday)

For as long as I can remember, my father set aside a small sum of money that he would periodically lend to a hard-working person in need of short-term help. We called it his 'Do Good Money'. Dad passed away last year at the age of ninety, and I want to honour his memory by continuing his tradition. I have just found an easy way to do so.

Carole recommended Kiva, a non-profit organisation that allows you to lend as little as $25 to a specific low-income 'entrepreneur' across the globe. You choose who to lend to, and as they repay their loan, you get your money back. This is a simple and sustainable way to empower someone to support their family and lift themselves out of poverty. As your money is repaid you can either withdraw it or lend it again.

In the very unlikely event of a loan not being repaid, I can easily afford to think of the $25 as a donation. To me, $25 is a few takeaway lunches or coffees, which I would not miss. For the borrower, it may be equivalent to a fortnight's income. Micro-loans are also a good way of using money I earn from online surveys (which will be the subject of a future blog post).

The first four borrowers I chose to support were Janina in Peru (sewing), Leonora in the Philippines (rug-making), Roberto in El Salvador (food production/sales) and the 'Por un Futuro Mejor' (For a Better Future) communal bank (ten women involved in agriculture in Ecuador). By the time you read this, my sisters and I will have added to that list.

You are warmly invited to join the Kiva lending team named 'Genealogists for Families', whose slogan is 'We loan because... we care about families (past, present and future).'
  1. Register with Kiva and join the team.

  2. Make a $25 loan. If you're cautious, chose a short-term low-risk loan.

  3. To publicise your Web site or online family tree, enter its address in 'My Website' on your Kiva Lender Page.
The fun part is choosing a borrower. Use the map, check boxes and advanced options to narrow down the field; look at each person's story and photograph; then choose one that feels special to you.

Checkout and payment are quick, easy and secure. (If you have not heard of Paypal, I can recommend them. I have used them for business and personal transactions for many years.)

If you enjoy your experience with Kiva, please invite others to join the team. Let's show the world that family historians can make a difference! I hope you will share your experiences and suggestions by leaving a comment below.

('Thankful Thursday' is a theme used by Geneabloggers to express gratitude for anything that has had a positive impact on our lives.)


  1. What a lovely idea. My daughters (8 and 10) heard me reading this post to my husband, and they asked to see photos of the people you supported. After exploring the Web site, our family came up with a plan. Whenever my husband and I find five cent pieces in a pocket/purse, we will put them in a special collection jar. The girls will put in a small amount from their weekly pocket money. When we have $25, we will let the girls decide which person to lend it to. And yes, we will join your team so the loan shows up there!

  2. Congratulations to you and your girls. It's a great plan, and I hope more people will follow your example. You will have a lot of fun deciding who to support. New borrowers are being added to the list every hour, so there is no need to rush your decision. Within a day or two you will find one that just 'feels right'.

    Before joining Kiva I knew very little about some of the poorer countries, but I have been looking at maps and paying more attention to world news.

    Good luck with your saving, and thanks for joining in.

  3. Judy, I left the team I was in and joined yours today. Go the Families!!!

  4. What a wonderful project. I love the idea of tying your Kiva team to your genealogy work. I will share this over on my genealogy blog and (when I can, times are extremely tough for my family right now) hope to join your team.

  5. What a great idea. I've been thinking of joining kiva for awhile, ever since I first saw Carole mention it. I am honoured to join the Genealogists for Families project.

  6. Carole, thanks for switching teams - and WELCOME to Pamela, Joan and Heather who have just joined Genealogists for Families.

  7. More new members have joined since this morning - and I have also written an updated post called Genealogists, Traditions and Kiva.


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