Title: Every Child Needs Parenting
Introduction: The SMM Seminar on ‘Parenting’ was held on 23 December 2006. The Seminar aimed to commemorate Smt. S. Manjubhashini’s centenary by focusing on the projects, plans and achievements of the Bala Mandir Research Foundation (BMRF), which she had founded.
S. Manjubhashini’s path-breaking success in giving a home to destitute and orphan children and bringing them up as happy, well-adjusted, mature adults is now part of the social history of the 20th century. Her efforts since 1983 to spread the message of parenting children in the community, through the Research Foundation, gained momentum in the 1990s, and it is significant to note that on the 1st anniversary of her passing away on 23 September 1997, BMRF entered into an international partnership focused on parenting.
In 1999, the Research Foundation also initiated the Network for Information on Parenting (NIP), which has grown in stature and outreach, taking the parenting messages to various States in India – Gujarat, Karnataka, Maharashtra, and Tamil Nadu, and soon to Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Punjab, West Bengal, and the Hindi-speaking States of North India. The core materials have been translated into the different local languages and made user-friendly. Important principles of child development and parent-child interaction are conveyed pictorially and with disarming simplicity. By all accounts, their impact has been a resounding success.
In the process of developing materials for parenting, BMRF as the coordinator, realised the need for a nucleus in Chennai, where parents and children who have questions and doubts can converge. The Bala Mandir Resource Centre was consequently set up, offering a variety of services:
- Consultation and counselling to discuss children’s problems and appropriate parenting responses.
- Access to reference materials, books, videos and films to understand effective parenting practices.
- A seminar room for talks, brainstorming sessions, meetings, training and orientation programmes on different stages and aspects of the ‘Joy of Parenting’.
Participants: The participants comprised of members of the Network for Information on Parenting (NIP), the Bala Mandir family and partners of BMRF. Mr P. C. Ramakrishna, a well-known theatre person, and S. Manjubhashini’s grandson was the Chief Guest.
Topics & Speakers:
‘Remembering Manjumma’s Parenting’ – Dr S. Anandalakshmy, President, BMRF
‘Opening Our Doors’ – Dr Indu Balagopal, Council Member, BMRF
‘Listening to Children’s Voices – Widening the Circle’ – Ms Maya Gaitonde, Secretary, BMRF
Programme Highlights: Open discussion on future projects and programmes to further the work done so far on parenting.