Volunteer Spotlight: A Self-Proclaimed Nerd with a Love for Spain

Each day when you visit Kiva’s site there are thousands of loans ready and waiting to be funded, but how do they get there? Money doesn’t grow on trees and neither do translated loans. 
Kiva relies on an enormous network of volunteers to help review and translate loans that come in from our partners in one of the five key Kiva languages (English, French, Spanish, Portuguese or Russian). 
We are so incredibly grateful to these talented volunteers, who are vital to Kiva’s mission to alleviate poverty. We cherish their contributions and each month take the time to recognize one Review and Translation volunteer standout who we couldn’t live without.
Featured Volunteer: Jill Heske
 “I’m glad I volunteer. A little tiny bit of what we do – and not many people can do it – does a lot for people in need.”
City: Suwanee, GA
Languages: Spanish, Russian
Team: Mosaico
Time with Kiva: 5 years, 4 months
Outstanding contributions to Kiva:
In over five years volunteering for Kiva, Jill has translated the stories of over 700 borrowers. Additionally, Jill’s Spanish and Russian skills make her a huge asset to Kiva’s translation teams! 
Read on for a brief Q&A with this dedicated volunteer.
How did you find out about Kiva?
It was a while back, I was just looking for opportunities to do volunteer translating. Kiva was the only opportunity; there are still very few opportunities for volunteer translating, even in Spanish. 
Why did you choose to volunteer your time with Kiva? 
I think it’s just a really nice thing to use your languages to do stuff for people that you’ll never meet, people who’ll never meet you. You can change something in somebody’s life by doing something that seems so little to you, but actually to them is a pretty big deal. 
What is your favorite partner or region? 
I really don’t care which region the loan is from, I just want to translate. I don’t have a particular region that I like or don’t like; I think they’re all doing a good thing. Some of the partners have been around a little bit longer, they’re a little more savvy about how to do the loans so you don’t repeat phrases or the loans are not too long or too short. Some of them are a little better at it than others, but I think the people beneath all of those organizations are all kind of the same. They all need something. 
Tell us about a memorable profile you have reviewed. 
I remember the first loan that I ever reviewed. I didn’t really know anything about what I was doing and I thought ‘alright, OK, this is kind of neat.’ The borrower was a butcher, I don’t remember which country he came from, and he was pictured next to a giant knife, I mean a really, really big knife. I thought, ‘Oh my god, he looks like an axe-murderer. Nobody’s going to lend to that guy!’ I thought he looked so dangerous, but the truth is, he was just a guy looking for a loan. I think he was funded almost immediately. So it just kind of shows what I knew, right? If I didn’t have a family, I would like to work as a Fellow to get a look at the lives of these individuals and get an appreciation for how they’re improving themselves.
Where is your favorite place in the world to travel?
I’ve got to say, I love Spain. They just have such good food there. I like pretty much everywhere I’ve been because I like to be immersed in languages and cultures, but I will admit, even though I’m skinny, the food is my favorite. I’m always looking to explore new foods to get the feeling of being someplace else -- it’s fun!
Tell us an unusual or surprising fact about yourself.
It’s all unusual! Compared to the people that I’ve read about on Kiva who’ve lived in really cool places for extended periods or done the Peace Corps, I’m just a nerd. I started playing the guitar when I was 47. I play all the time; I’m obsessed. So I write and I play and I sing.
Interested in volunteering for Kiva’s Review and Translation Program? Read more about the program and check out our current opportunities here.


About the author

Jane Loria