Australia. Aid for health and education from the profits by Waterjars
By Maria Gaglione – Published in Avvenire on 22/02/2020
EoF: Stories – The Australian experience of Natalia Teguhputri who founded a movement to ensure that part of the profits of the company where she works are allocated to projects for disadvantaged communities.
Natalia Teguhputri is among those participants in The Economy of Francesco who will make a very long trip to Assisi in November. She will come from Australia, with her views and experience as a young Catholic woman. A person of intense spirituality, Natalia lives the missionary dimension of faith in every area of her life. She feels called to listening in this time of great change, so as to promote the construction of a more just world.
Natalia has Indonesian origins and many passions: from martial art to singing and playing the ukulele, to books and long bike rides. She has a degree in economics and commerce and professional experience in accounting and finance. “Currently I work as a financial analyst in a real estate development company. I am convinced that it is possible to combine the economy, faith and mission and so I started studying again: I am completing a postgraduate degree in theological studies at the Australian Catholic University with specialization in philanthropy and non-profit services“. In 2015, Natalia founded the Waterjars movement. “It’s simple. I was in my office and one day I made a proposal, and obtained the approval of the board of directors of the company for which I work to allocate a percentage of our company’s annual profit to support development projects for disadvantaged communities“.
The word “waterjars” doesn’t exist, we tell her. Did you invent it? “More or less,” Natalia says with her beautiful smile. “John 2, 1-12. The wedding at Cana, the miracle of Jesus who transforms the water of the jars into wine. We dream of repeating the same miracle with our work today. As small jars of water, we are an instrument in God’s hands. Water is our work, our earnings, which Providence transforms into concrete aid for the most needy“. A providence that Waterjars has learned to intercept thanks to the collaboration of many non-profit organizations and other entities that are interested in financing projects especially in the fields of health, education and new generations. “So far we have provided over 300,000 Australian Dollars in aid and grants“. The story of Waterjars is a story of positive contamination. “After all, we’re “just” storytellers,” Natalia says. “In this commitment, we have realized that helping people who are at a disadvantage requires a fundamental step: standing next to them and walking together. You can’t know their view of the world or their needs from behind an office desk. You have to go down to the street. That’s what Waterjars is trying to do”.
Natalia and her friends Jim, Claire, Thandi and Henny share in the lives of the people they recommend to be reached by organizations, foundations, individuals who offer concrete help. “In 2017 I returned to Indonesia, to visit the village of Mbuwu in PaluProv,” Natalia tells us. “Coming from that country, I thought I had been prepared. I bought my plane tickets from Melbourne and set out on the journey. But then I felt so helpless and defeated by what I saw in the village: lack of water and basic sanitation. Thanks to Waterjars we were able to recover financing to build 2 water tanks and 40 bathrooms. In the Waterjars team, I do the accounting, I know all the project numbers, all the budget items. But when I meet people, every time, I realize that there are not only needs that can be satisfied by putting money and building wells or something else. People who are economically vulnerable often suffer from the state of exclusion and being discarded in which they are forced. Yet there is a strong need in them to feel part of the world in which they live, to be heard and recognized in the dignity of men and women“. Invisible ones. Poor people discarded from history and the narration of history, some would say. “These encounters change your life, and we pass them on with the respect and love they deserve. I was deeply touched and drawn by Pope Francis’ call to be promoters of a change that makes the economy of today and tomorrow more just, inclusive and sustainable, without leaving anyone behind. That is why I will be there in Assisi“.Source: