Ramadan for children in Indonesia, my story
Extreme heat during Ramadan did not diminish the children’s moods when going to school and following the school activities. In Ramadan, Al-Azhar Syifa Budi, a school in Bogor (a city on the island of Java in the West Java province of Indonesia) commanded that all food stalls in the school’s neighborhood be closed. Younger students were trained to understand Ramadan by not bringing their lunches and there was no snack time, so they learned to honor their high grades when they were fasting.
School activities began with Duha prayer in congregation, tadarus (reading the Holy Quran), and memorizing the Quran. Subhanallah, these activities did not discourage them from breaking their fasts, however, even though they should have lingered to read the Holy Qur’an.
Throughout Ramadan, in addition to getting used to reading the Holy Qur’an and performing Sunnah prayers, the higher grade students attended boarding school in Ramadan where they were placed away from the school and their homes. The goals were to educate the children in being more independent, training them to do sahoor and to break fast without their parents, and it deepened their religious practices such as birrul walidain (doing good to both parents), understanding the meaning of fasting, and education about Islamic practices pre-puberty.
In addition, they were guided towards understanding the meaning of Surat Al-Fatihah in everyday life and the meaning of the two sentences of creed (shahadah) as applied to their activities at home, school, and in social interaction. On top of religious materials, the children learned horse-riding, games for developing the right side of the brain, and other creative activities associated with Ramadan.
Activities at the peak of Ramadan were granting compensation for needy people who live in the school environment. The children helped to distribute Ramadan gifts so that this would hopefully foster empathy for others when they saw that there are people who are less fortunate than them and who are not able to live with abundant fortune.
The closing ceremony was followed by iftar and tarawih together, as well as mutual greetings, asking for forgiveness among teachers, school staff, and students.
Anyone who wants to succeed in the world (dunya) reach it with knowledge, if you want to succeed in the hereafter reach it with knowledge, and if you want to get both of them reach it with knowledge.