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SUN Nutrition Programme


When Tim  Galbraith first visited India in 1976 he discussed child nutrition problems with a retired medical superintendent of Vellore Medical College Hospital. The doctor, who had befriended him, commented on the vast waste of money and energy by foreign mis­sions in setting up hospitals and clinics when – with less effort and money a large measure of the cause of ill-health could be tackled at the beginning. This led Brother Tim to institute, with guidance from the doctor, what is now generally known as the ‘SUN Program’ – the Supplementary Nutrition Program.

At the outset he financed a small pilot operation, and sought to introduce it wherever he could obtain reliable voluntary helpers. One major centre was established in Tenali, where a Dr Scrinavasa Rao, with his wife and daughters, ran a program and, later, under Tim’s direction, a small orphanage.

By 1982 there were 12 distribution points for the nutrition drink, supplied three times a week to the impoverished and under-nourished children of the poorest segments of the population. There are now, in 2015, over 21 distribution centres in various areas in India.


  • Malnutrition and under-nutrition still affect 46% of children younger than 5 years in South Asia.
  • Family life is disturbed by many of these children being placed in institutional care.
  • A simple supplement preparation from locally available ingredients can significantly reduce the nutrition problems.
  • Attendance three times a week at the distribution centre allows observation of any specific health needs.
  • Regular contact allows preparation of non-school attending children for readiness for streaming into formal education.

What is it?

Each batch of the nutritional drink is a mixture of the following ingredients: Ragi flour, green gram, Bengal gram, groundnuts, milk powder, jaggery & vitamin drops.


*Solidified concentrated sugar syrup heated to 200°C. Traditionally, the syrup is made by boiling raw sugarcane juice. It retains many more mineral salts than refined sugar, and is more slowly released to the bloodstream.

**The darker flecks are the coating from the Ragi. The shelf life is about 6 weeks, so fresh flour is supplied every two weeks to each Centre.


The milk powder is mixed to normal milk strength (15 litres) and separately the flour (made from grinding the four grains / nuts) is mixed in water & cooked to a porridge consistency.

Then the milk and jaggery is added and mixed well, and vitamins added. It is served as a thick drink –200ml per child three times a week.

Nutrition Values

Nutrition Analysis of Nutrition Supplement Ingredients

Food Weight
Vit A
Ragi 500 1640 36.5 1720 32.0 210
Green gram 500 1740 122.5 375 42.5 245
Bengal gram 2000 7380 450.0 1160 190.0 2260
Groundnut 500 2835 12A6.5 450 14.0 185
Milk powder 250 888 110 5000 20 7500
Jaggery 750 2873 3.0 600 85.5 1260
Vitamin drops 30 14,9400
17,356 939.50 12,280 365 151,660
Food Weight
Vit C
Vit D
Ragi 500 2.1 0.95 5.5
Green gram 500 2.35 1.05  12.0
Bengalgram 2000 4.0 26.0
Groundnut 500 4.5 0.65 99.5
Milk powder 250 1.13 4.05 30.0 15 2000
Jaggery  750 0.15 0.3 3.75
Vitamin drops 30 99 51.0  510.0 2520

The nutrient composition of one drink is as follows:

Energy 135 kcals
Protein 7.83 g
Calcium 140 mg
Iron 2.9 mg
Vitamin A 3300 IU
Thiamine 2.12 mg
Riboflavin 2.10 mg
Niacin 24.37 mg
Vitamin C 25 mg
Vitamin D 150 IU


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