Story by Metta Wulandari, Indonesia

The "Healthy Breakfast Program" by Tzu Chi Indonesia is sponsored by donating members and businesses. During the week of May 21, 2024, the program provided breakfasts to students at SD Al Khairiyah in Kapuk Muara, Jakarta. The students warmly welcomed the volunteers. "This is our second time distributing breakfast at this school," said Tzu Chi volunteer Nany Ramlan.

On May 21, 2024, Nany Ramlan (陳鳳珍), along with three other volunteers, soldier Tutur Triono, and police officer Hartono, distributed 77 servings of bread and milk to third, fifth, and sixth graders at SD Al Khairiyah. The day before, they had distributed 93 servings of bread and milk to other classes.

Small Breakfast, Big Benefits

"We are very happy. The children responded enthusiastically, were very polite, and it was heartwarming. I was moved when, as we were leaving, some children came over to respectfully thank us. It was just a piece of bread, but they were so sincerely grateful," said  Nany Ramlan.

Ramlan believes the program is excellent, as many children do not have the habit of eating breakfast at home. Sometimes parents prepare breakfast, but the children skip it due to time constraints. Other times, parents do not have the time to prepare breakfast and give their children pocket money instead.

"I think providing healthy breakfasts helps the students. It's better than them eating fried food from street vendors. The nutrition from milk and bread is better, and it should help them stay healthier and more focused in their studies," said Ramlan.

Military and police officers Tutur Triono (right) and Hartono (left) distribute breakfast with volunteers. | Photo courtesy of Metta Wulandari

Military officer Tutur Triono and police officer Hartono agreed with Ramlan, hoping that the "Healthy Breakfast Program" could improve the students' health and alleviate the financial burden on parents, many of whom have unstable incomes from odd jobs.

"Many residents here struggle; many work as factory workers or motorcycle taxi drivers. They don't always have time to prepare breakfast for their children because they're rushing to work. I am very grateful to Tzu Chi for implementing this program," said Tutur Triono.

"I hope the 'Healthy Breakfast Program' at SD Al Khairiyah can be a model and expand to other schools. Many underprivileged communities in remote areas cannot meet their daily expenses. I hope more children can benefit from these healthy breakfasts," added Hartono.

Preparing Breakfast in Place of Parents

Saviana Zahwa (back row, third from the right) hadn't eaten breakfast that day. She and other students were delighted to receive bread and milk. | Photo courtesy of Metta Wulandari

Fifth grader Saviana Zahwa did not have breakfast this morning because she didn't have time to cook. Usually, she prepares her own breakfast, such as fried rice, instant noodles, or eggs. Her parents work at a frozen food factory from early morning until the afternoon, so they haven't prepared breakfast for her in a long time. "My mom leaves for work at 4 AM and comes home at noon, and my dad leaves at 5 AM. So, I usually make my own simple breakfast," said the independent Saviana.

Like Saviana, sixth grader Fellen Agustina also skipped breakfast. "I didn't have time to eat breakfast today because my mom left for work early," said Fellen.

Students from SD Al Khairiyah enthusiastically receive bread and milk. | Photo courtesy of Metta Wulandari

Fellen's mother is a laundry worker, and her father is a construction worker, both leaving for work early in the morning. "I hope this program continues to help students who don't have time to eat breakfast at home," said a grateful Fellen.

The "Healthy Breakfast Program" at SD Al Khairiyah is not just about nutrition but also community support. With heartfelt gratitude, students like Saviana and Fellen benefit from this initiative, fostering hope for brighter futures.