The aims and objectives based on which the Bala Mandir Research Foundation was established, were to open a Research Centre, focusing on problems pertaining to destitute, foundling, deprived, and physically and mentally disabled children, and their families.
Over the years, BMRF’s scope of work has grown from early formal scientific and medical research studies within the Bala Mandir institution to an expansive range of activities in the field of parenting and holistic child development, focusing on the psycho-social development and well-being of the child.
We believe in equal Rights for child development:
BMRF’s activities span four broad areas; training, dissemination, community-based projects, and research.
Starting out with the training of parents, and crèche workers within its own institutions, BMRF now conducts regular parenting and child development training programmes for all those in the child’s environment, as defined by PARENTS; Pappa, Amma,Relatives, Elders, Neighbours, Teachers, and Society. This includes parents, caregivers, teachers, community workers, NGOs, ECCD training institutions, Government departments, among many others.
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BMRF works in partnership with corporates and other NGOs to conduct lasting community-based interventions in ECCD in a range of different socio-economically deprived environments. These include rural communities, tribal villages, urban slums, childcare institutions, migrant labour, and special needs.
Our interventions are directed at creating awareness and advocacy for positive parenting practices, building community engagement, and promoting inclusive and holistic child development starting from pregnancy through to 6 years. Our integrated approaches include centre-based training and support for teachers, Anganwadi centres, etc., as well as home visiting and parent contact programmes, and community outreach.
Many of our earlier projects have been conducted as interventions into on-going service/training programmes, aimed at helping partners to move beyond basic physical health and nutrition, to parenting and the psycho-social development and well-being of the child.
We have also consulted on community-based early childhood projects looking at the impact of techno-social innovations and gender transformative studies in improving child developmental outcomes.
Our goal is to help local communities map out a course for ECCD improvements by creating strategies to make positive and sustainable changes in their communities.
In the early years post its inception, BMRF conducted extensive research studies aimed at enhancing the learning, psycho-social well-being, mental health, and nutrition levels of the institutionalised children in Bala Mandir.
Since 2000, our work has shifted away from formal scientific and medical research to the increasingly relevant social sciences focusing on parenting and early childhood, and in particular the psycho-social development and well-being of the child.
BMRF has to date largely carried out action research and studies in the communities that it works in along with project monitoring and evaluation (M&E) to help track implementation and measure the effectiveness of its programmes against expected outcomes. Action research studies have been carried out both within the Bala Mandir institution and in partnership with NGOs in various socio-economically deprived communities.
Our intervention methodology in the communities aims to equip families with the necessary instruments and tools needed to promote child development. We train field-level workers to become data collectors because of their proximity to the community. The context of local cultural, and environmental, influences on persons, families, and communities, is paramount in our research thinking. Each worker is given extensive practical training to ensure she is not only sensitive to the respondent, but also understands the context in which the responses are given.
BMRF is now working towards formal hypothesis testing research in collaboration with other NGO partners and government social welfare departments.