Natalie Tjahja had a daughter named Maria Monique. She became ill at a young age due to a lung infection. Despite Tjahja's best efforts, selling her positions and taking her to special treatment facilities in Singapore, Maria Monique died in 2006.
Since then, Tjahja has sought to help other children burdened with illness in Indonesia. She created the Maria Monique Lastwish Foundation, a small but vital organization that gives sick children basic items that Americans might take for granted.
CNN tells the story of Nia Zahara, a young Indonesian girl with cerebral palsy. She's unable to move on her own, and could not leave her room until the Maria Monique Foundation provided her with a stroller. Now she can be in her stroller and go outside without being carried. It seems so simple, but this basic act has meant a world of difference to these families in need.
The foundation gets its donations mainly by word of mouth. Tjahja works with teams of volunteers that have helped her reach children all over Indonesia.
Tjahja has one simple aim: "When I give happiness to the children, when I see the smile, it's just so beautiful."
The foundation's web site describes some of the requests being fulfilled. Zulfikar, a 12-year-old boy suffering from late-stage spinal cancer, always dreamed of being a pilot. Though Tjahja couldn't make his dream come true, they were able to get him a genuine pilot's hat and pin. According to the foundation, this act alone put an unwavering smile on Zul's face. He was wearing the hat upon his death, on December 30.
The story of the Maria Monique Lastwish Foundation is airing this week on CNN. To donate to the foundation, checks can be sent to:
Yayasan Maria Monique Lastwish
Bank Danamon Cab Mal Taman
Acc. Number: 60746807