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Breakfast for Kindergarten schoolgirls in Pakistan

by Zindagi Trust
Breakfast for Kindergarten schoolgirls in Pakistan
Breakfast for Kindergarten schoolgirls in Pakistan
Breakfast for Kindergarten schoolgirls in Pakistan
Breakfast for Kindergarten schoolgirls in Pakistan
Breakfast for Kindergarten schoolgirls in Pakistan
Breakfast for Kindergarten schoolgirls in Pakistan
Breakfast for Kindergarten schoolgirls in Pakistan
Breakfast for Kindergarten schoolgirls in Pakistan
Breakfast for Kindergarten schoolgirls in Pakistan
Breakfast for Kindergarten schoolgirls in Pakistan
Excited to start her day with boiled eggs and milk
Excited to start her day with boiled eggs and milk

Zindagi Trust’s Breakfast Program, which aims to provide students with a nutritious locally sourced meal to start the day, is continuing with fervor at our two adopted government schools. The program seeks to integrate and build awareness of health, nutrition and environment among our young students.

At Khatoon-e-Pakistan Government Girls School (KPS), breakfast is served to students of nursery, kindergarten, first grade and second grade totaling 250 students. However, due to its larger student body, SMB Fatima Jinnah Government Girls School (SMB) is currently only able to serve breakfast to their 300 kindergarten students.

New arrivals at our tiny farm

Students of the Environment Club at KPS have planted bottle gourd, ridged gourd and okra in the backyard garden and we are looking forward to them becoming an addition to our breakfast menu soon! While the early years students are not a part of the club, teachers and gardeners regularly take them to the vegetable garden and allow them to explore the process of growing food. Students walk around, spot vegetables growing at different stages and water the crops as well. We hope that such a practice allows students to develop respect and an appreciation for the earth and the food that it gives us.

What’s on the Menu?

We strive to create a menu which has the appropriate mix of whole grains, fiber, vitamins, minerals and protein. All effort is made to ensure processed foods are eliminated such as using dates as a sweetener instead of sugar, preparing bread in-house instead of using store-bought options and sourcing hormone-free fresh milk from a local farm. The focus is to provide a healthy and balanced meal without compromising on taste. This time both our decided on the same menu, which included boiled eggs, aloo parathas (flatbreads stuffed with potato) seasoned with crushed cumin, spinach omelettes with whole wheat roti, wheat cereal, black chickpea salads with potatoes. Yogurt, milk and a mix of seasonal fruits such as oranges, pomegranate melons, apples and bananas served daily.

Please continue to support this program and share any ideas you may have for affordable, local and healthy menu options to fuel the brains that will shape Pakistan's future!

Chickpea salad with potatoes, cucumber and yogurt
Chickpea salad with potatoes, cucumber and yogurt
Planting okra & gourd for the breakfast table
Planting okra & gourd for the breakfast table
Watering the vegetable garden
Watering the vegetable garden

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Queuing up for boiled eggs and milk
Queuing up for boiled eggs and milk

After a long summer break of nearly two months, the hustle bustle of school resumed in July. As the schools continued to serve nutritious local meals to their little elementary school students they observed the adjustment to the back-to-school routine had brought challenges with it.

At Khatoon-e-Pakistan Government Girls School (KPS) it was noticed students of Kindergarten were taking longer than usual to complete their meals due to their recent change in waking up time. Not to be daunted, the school management in conjunction with the breakfast cook and ECE (Early Childhood Education) teachers and In-charge, decided to serve breakfast an hour later. Instead of beginning the day with breakfast, Kindergarten students now complete their Circle Time in class and then proceeded to the Breakfast room. The results of this change has completely surpassed expectations! Students who were previously unable to finish their breakfast were now gobbling it up and the average time taken to complete a meal fell! In other amazing news, the program was expanded to provide Breakfast for our 33 students of Nursery too!

July also marked the beginning of another academic year which brought new admissions in Kindergarten at SMB Fatima Jinnah Government Girls School (SMB). It has been observed previously that students show resistance towards eating fruits. SMB held a Fruit Day Celebration filled with fun activities to encourage our new tots and old to enjoy fruits with the same enthusiasm as other foods! Parents of students also participated actively in the celebration, since healthy eating habits at home are a necessary reinforcement to the habits being developed in the program. The day started with performances by few of the students playing various seasonal fruits like mangoes, pears, peaches and apricots and grapes. During this, the students recited poems and songs about the fruits they were representing. Later, all students took part in a fruit coloring activity where they learnt about more fruits and made wristbands with the help of their parents. The day ended with all students getting served by their parents with seasonal fruits and fresh yogurt while their teachers explained the nutritional value of each fruit.

What’s on the Menu?

During this quarter, SMB’s and KPS’ students were served boiled eggs, omelets, seasonal fruits with yogurts, oats with yogurt and mild spices, porridge, aloo parathas (flatbreads made with whole wheat and stuffed with potatoes), chickpeas and lentils. Milk is a regular feature of the meal, along with stewed vegetables such as spinach, sweet potatoes, lady fingers, carrots, and bottle gourd. Fruits are also given in the form of shakes to satisfy the picky eaters. All effort is made to ensure processed foods are eliminated such as using dates as a sweetener instead of sugar and getting rid of store-bought bread. The focus is to provide a healthy balanced meal without compromising on taste.

About the Program

Zindagi Trust’s Breakfast Program aims to provide students with a nutritious locally sourced meal. At KPS, 250 students of Nursery, Kindergarten, Grade 1 and Grade 2 were served. SMB served 300 students of Kindergarten only due to its much larger student body. The program seeks to integrate and build awareness of health, nutrition and environment among our young students. Our vision for the breakfast program is about inculcating healthy living habits in our students and we like to take this value beyond the breakfast room. We do not see the breakfast program in isolation from the rest of a students' intellectual development. As such, for long term impact, we have involved the school nurse, the gardeners, science teachers, canteen management and parents in the process of implementing the breakfast program.

Please consider making a donation to our breakfast program to continue supporting nutritious meals for children in Pakistan’s public schools!

Representing fruits while learning all about them
Representing fruits while learning all about them
Mothers of students watching during performances
Mothers of students watching during performances
Learning about names of fruits
Learning about names of fruits
DIY Wristbands
DIY Wristbands
Learning about the nutritional value of each fruit
Learning about the nutritional value of each fruit
Ending Fruit Day with yogurt and bananas
Ending Fruit Day with yogurt and bananas

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A kindergartener polishing off a boiled egg
A kindergartener polishing off a boiled egg

About the Program

Zindagi Trust’s Breakfast Program aims to provide students with a nutritious locally sourced meal to start the day. The program seeks to integrate and build awareness of health, nutrition and environment among our young students.

At Khatoon-e-Pakistan Government Girls School (KPS) in Karachi, breakfast was served this year to students of Kindergarten, first grade and second grade totalling 217 students. However, due to its larger student body, SMB Fatima Jinnah Government Girls School (SMB) was only able to serve breakfast to their 280 kindergarten students.

Our vision for the breakfast program is about inculcating healthy living habits in our students and we like to take this value beyond the breakfast room. We do not see the breakfast program in isolation from the rest of a students' intellectual development. As such, for long term impact, we have involved the school nurse, the gardeners, science teachers, canteen management and parents in the process of implementing the breakfast program.

The Breakfast program has been tremendously successful. It has brought about a heartening improvement in the development and health of our young students. Teachers and staff report a decrease in absenteeism, fainting due to malnutrition, yawning during the class, and diminished concentration in studies and sports. Moreover, it has significantly boosted student admissions in the Early Childhood Development grades (ECD) at SMB.

Donate today to support 500 plus young children get a nutritious boost to start the day.

The weekly menu. All items are free from additives
The weekly menu. All items are free from additives
Drinking milk from steel mugs, instead of plastic
Drinking milk from steel mugs, instead of plastic
The chefs: constantly innovating healthy recipes
The chefs: constantly innovating healthy recipes
Having a meal together has improved social skills
Having a meal together has improved social skills
Ridged Gourd: From the school garden to the table
Ridged Gourd: From the school garden to the table

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Socializing while enjoying porridge
Socializing while enjoying porridge

Brrrrring! The morning school bell rings and with the usual chatter, fidgets, and giggles, primary and pre-primarily students take their seats around a breakfast table. The school chef brings around a tray and uncovers it with a flourish.

And just like that, an ordinary school Monday morning is transformed into Paratha Day-everyone’s favourite day.

However, these are no ordinary parathas. Parathas are flatbreads which traditionally contain layers of cooked white dough and copious amounts of oil. The ones polished off instantly by these 3 to 7-year-olds are a healthy, nutritionally-dense version, which also includes spinach. Fun fact, the spinach is grown in the school’s vegetable garden by student-led Environment Club where students learn how to grow certain, vegetables, protect them from pests, understand and appreciate food production and also compost kitchen waste.

What’s for breakfast?

During the last quarter of this academic year, Khatoon e Pakistan Government Girls School (KPS) served spinach parathas, boiled eggs, khichri (rice pilaf), banana and date shakes, fresh fruits and porridge.  The school staff has really striven to serve a different item every day to pique students’ interest and to cater to every palate. As Maa Bibi, the KPS chef, says “Yeh bhi humarey bachey hai” (these too are our children), and this is what motivates the breakfast staff to innovate new recipes.

In serving breakfast, it’s easy to forget how much sugar and processed ingredients are lurking in every bite, undermining the nutrition in the breakfast. KPS is working on eliminating sugar and processed ingredients, using ingredients such as dates to naturally sweeten foods. Flatbreads are kneaded and cooked in school rather than store-bought options.

SMB Fatima Jinnah Government Girls School (SMB) in this last quarter also focused on keeping up the healthy eating habits developed throughout the year in close partnership with the parents. Students have started enjoying milk, fruits, and porridge; items which were usually rejected by the students at the beginning of the year. “I like to eat fruits, especially oranges and bananas” saysAreeba (KG-I) with a sparkle in her eye. Also, Huriya’s (KG-I) grandmother reports My granddaughter was not fond of drinking milk before but after having it here every day, she has developed a likeness to it”.

“My daughter asked me to make the same porridge as she gets in school and after tasting it she told me it wasn’t as good as the one she has at school” Hafsa’s (KG II) mother exclaims as she expresses her desire to get the magical porridge recipe from KG chef to satisfy her daughter developed taste.

Yasira’s (KG-II) father revealed that his daughter loved the school breakfast menu especially the noodles, kabab, and spinach with yoghurt. She expects the same from her mother who has now learnt the recipes. In this way, the parent community has also been groomed hand-in-hand to initiate healthy menu at home.

Fan favourites at SMB include porridge, cutlets with mint chatni and omelette which students regularly ask to repeat.

About the Program

Zindagi Trust’s Breakfast Program aims to provide students with a nutritious locally sourced meal to start the day. The program seeks to integrate and build awareness of health, nutrition and environment among our young students.

At KPS, breakfast was served this year to students of Kindergarten, first grade and second grade totaling 217 students. However, due to its larger student body, SMB was only able to serve breakfast to their 280 kindergarten students.

Our vision for the breakfast program is about inculcating healthy living habits in our students and we like to take this value beyond the breakfast room. We do not see the breakfast program in isolation from the rest of a students' intellectual development. As such, for long term impact, we have involved the school nurse, the gardeners, science teachers, canteen management and parents in the process of implementing the breakfast program.

The Breakfast program is has been tremendously successful. It has brought about a heartening improvement in the development and health of our young students. Teachers and staff report a decrease in absenteeism, fainting due to malnutrition, yawning during the class, and diminished concentration in studies and sports. Moreover, it has significantly boosted student admissions in the Early Childhood Development grades (ECD) at SMB.

What’s next?

We plan to involve a nutritionist to understand the science behind nutrition better. What ratio of proteins-carbs-fibres should an ideal breakfast contain?  The menu is in constant flux as we continue to innovate and experiment and work for serving breakfast to SMB students beyond Kindergarten grades.

 

 

Grade 1 queuing up for their daily nutritious dose
Grade 1 queuing up for their daily nutritious dose
Serving meals in steel dishes to replace plastic
Serving meals in steel dishes to replace plastic
Enjoying her porridge with bananas and dates
Enjoying her porridge with bananas and dates

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A Student responsibly takes some rice and lentils.
A Student responsibly takes some rice and lentils.

 

Zindagi Trust’s Breakfast Program, which aims to provide students with a nutritious locally sourced meal to start the day, is continuing with fervor at our two adopted government schools. The program seeks to integrate and build awareness of health, nutrition and environment among our young students.

At Khatoon e Pakistan Government Girls School (KPS), breakfast is served to students of kindergarten, first grade and second grade totaling 217 students. However, due to its larger student body, SMB Fatima Jinnah Government Girls School (SMB) is currently only able to serve breakfast to their 278 kindergarten students.

In keeping with the resolve to remove all processed items from the menu, this quarter KPS choose to replace store-bought bread with roti madein-house. On the other hand, with the onset of the Flu season, SMB introduced chicken soup to the menu. The regular menu at both schools comprises boiled eggs, omelet with chapatti, bread, jam, butter, pancakes, stewed or fried ladyfinger with chapatti and yogurt, boiled potatoes, chickpeas, biscuits, sandwiches, fruit salad, french toast, kidney beans, potato cutlets, mixed vegetables, wheat porridge and of course a glass of milk.

In our previous reports we have kept you updated about the school vegetable garden where the student’s Environmental Club is enthusiastically learning how to grow certain vegetables, protect them from pests and understand and appreciate food production. Two of the vegetables they have been growing were served for breakfast this quarter: spinach and bottle gourd. New vegetable seeds were planted for onions, peas, lady fingers and carrots. These will be ready to serve students in the next quarter. Furthermore, the environmental club is also taking care of composting kitchen waste.

The Breakfast program is has been tremendously successful. It has brought about a heartening improvement in the development and health of our young students. Teachers and staff report a decrease in absenteeism, fainting due to malnutrition, yawning during the class, and diminished concentration in studies and sports. Moreover, it has significantly boosted student admissions in the Early Childhood Development grades (ECD) at SMB. During Parent Teacher Meetings, parents are regularly advised to provide healthy homemade food to kids and not junk food. With the increasing awareness about health and hygiene especially through the breakfast program, the parents of our students show increased interest in what their children are eating and work to prepare similar items at home for them as well.

Please consider making a donation to our breakfast program to continue supporting nutritious meals for children in Pakistan’s public schools!

Students enjoying their breakfast
Students enjoying their breakfast

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Organization Information

Zindagi Trust

Location: Karachi, Sindh - Pakistan
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @zindagitrust
Project Leader:
Sana Kazmi
Karachi, Sindh Pakistan

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