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    The BAPS Bal-Balika Mandal and Gujarati School
6 January 2008, Birmingham, UK


The BAPS Bal-Balika Mandal and Gujarati School in Birmingham, UK held an open day on Sunday 6th January 2008, which was attended by over 120 children and parents. It was a new and highly successful way to increase the numbers of children attending the Bal-Balika Mandal and its Gujarati classes.

The attendees were initially greeted by young children welcoming them to the event, and introducing them to their guides. All families were guided individually by members of the Balika mandal, through the mandir to special rooms exhibiting the different activities that take place in Birmingham. These included Gujarati School, Bal-Balika Sabha, sports, outings, music, cultural activities and much more. This special guided tour lasted about 20 minutes and particularly allowed the new Bal-Balikas and parents to get a feel of how the activities are run on a regular basis.

This tour was followed by a short programme in the main sabha hall, which began with Balaks of all ages singing dhun, prārthanā and ghoshanā on the stage. The past and present members of the Bal-Balika Mandal who have excelled in satsang, education and their careers were then introduced in order to portray how attending the mandir at such a young age was crucial in their development.

Pujya Yagnatilak Swami also highlighted the need for Bal-Balika Mandal in the lives of today’s children, emphasising the necessity to preserve their Indian culture at such a young age. Many new Bal-Balikas enrolled and are now attending the Birmingham Bal-Balika Mandal and Gujarati school.

There were many inspiring and positive opinions, especially from new parents regarding this special event.
One parent remarked, “I was particularly impressed with the fact that it was the children themselves doing a lot of the work – welcoming, guiding, presenting, singing bhajans etc. I hope my child gains the confidence to also do these things.”

Another parent said, “From what I have seen today, I can honestly say that these types of centres for child development are extremely rare. You have all facilities for children in one package. You help with culture, education, moral development and they have fun as well! I am almost speechless at how this is done so well!”

Congratulations to the Birmingham Mandal Bal-Balika Karyakars for organising and running the Open Day to increase the numbers in their centre.

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