Located in the heart of Delhi and spread across 12.75 acres of land, National Bal Bhavan is a beautiful lush green space for children. What is more delightful however, is the myriad of activities and offerings that aim to hone every child’s creative, artistic, scientific temperament. National Bal Bhavan was set up with a vision ‘to let every child fully participate, contribute and strive towards a creative, humane, innovative and joyful world in all its wonder.’ As Chairperson, appointed in the year 2014, Ms Shallu Jindal has endeavoured to develop and improve its existing programs, infrastructure and also introduce new initiatives, cultural changes and infrastructure developments.
Mrs Jindal’s passion for the National Flag and association with FFOI was instrumental in the installation of this monumental flag at National Bal Bhavan to inspire the younger generation. The Union Minister of Steel Shri Birender Singh hoisted and dedicated this mammoth (30X45) National Flag at the NBB Campus on the auspicious occasion of India’s 72nd Independence Day.
Mrs Jindal believed that setting a goal with an end in mind is important and therefore drove the need for envisioning NBB with new goals, vision and mission statement keeping in mind the current times and needs of children.
“Bal Swachta Abhiyan” was launched in National Bal Bhavan during Ms Jindal's tenure with a cultural showcase, live mock parlieament and other functions during the National Children Assembly held in the beginning of November 14th every year at NBB. The campaign also got its new theme song, which was composed by the team from NBB and even the music video was shot with children from the NCA.
Under the guidance of Ms Jindal as Chairperson and an artist herself, NBB team was inspired to add value to its existing programs with new ideas. Her encouragement and support led them to organize a new series of festivals, lecture-cum-demonstration workshops on varied art forms in collaboration with SPIC MACAY, ICCR, Sur aur Saaz Foundation,TERI, Children Film Society of India, etc. The URJA Music and Dance Festival featured renowned Padamshree artists such as Padmashree Shovana Narayan, Smt Darshana Zaveri, Smt Madhvi Mudhgal, Smt Jayaprabha Menon.
Mrs Jindal felt it was crucial for children to meet and interact with highly capable individuals who may inspire and motivate them with their experience. Therefore, She has worked towards creating a platforms for children to interact with individuals of renowned stature in arts, socially relevant developments, etc., like Nobel Laureate Shri Kailash Satyarthi, Painter & Sculptor – Shri Jatin Das, Tabla artiste - Smt. Anuradha Pal, Leading Puppeteer- Shri Dadi Pudumjee, Mountaineer -Colonel Ahlawat, etc., to name a few.
NBB welcomed a Nobel Laureate for the first time in its premises. Shri Kailash Satyarthi came for a special interaction with children and inspired them with his candid discourse. He also applauded NBB as a temple for all children.
The renovation of Indian Village or Sanskrit Shilp Gram was a long-awaited dream of Mrs Jindal and it came to life after relentless efforts. The once vibrant space which welcomed traditional artisans for live showcases and workshops was lying dormant for many years. With encouragement from Chairperson, NBB, the talented artists and faculty took it upon themselves to showcase their skills in renovating the space. Today it has become a cherished space where the NBB family and vistors gather to experience traditional art forms.
Mrs Jindal believes that sport is essential for the overall development of each child, therefore renovating the existing sports section at NBB was important. Ms Jindal was able to bring to life an upgraded National Bal Bhavan Sports Centre in 2018, which was inaugurated by Honorable H.R.M Shri Prakash Javdekar and also introduced solo sports activity like Shooting with a highly competent coach.
A mini digital revolution has been happening at NBB under Ms Jindal's leadership - old documents have been digitized, administration systems fine-tuned, computerization of many sections, greater virtual and social presence through social media (Facebook, Twitter, Youtube), re-vamped website, TV and radio coverage of programs, web telecast of events ( Bal Shree Honor 2016, Bal Sansad 2015), enhanced use of ICT at all levels including online registration of membership, information kiosks and future plans of electronic tagging for children).
The artistic ambience of NBB has been revived by virtue of artistic paintings across boundary walls, especially focusing on traditional art forms like Warli and Madhubani. Beautiful artistic tile work has been created on the stairways and painted with different words. The revival of fountains, focused attention towards the restoration of priced artwork by renowned artists, a revamped reception area for visitors and auditorium, new signages across the campus, signages for activity areas, for improved and easy navigation, solar lights for a deep emphasis on environment, along with many other improvements have been made.
During Mrs Jindal’s tenure, there was a boost in cultural exchange programmes with children from across states coming for programs like NCA, as well as international participation through collaboration with government bodies like ICCR, etc. NBB children have been regular participants in international art fairs and one of the recent batches was the leading contenders in sculpting competition abroad.
Encouraged by Former HRM Smt Smriti Irani and Chairperson Shallu Jindal, who focused on the need for tangible experiences to build a true sense of love for the nation, NBB envisioned Seema Darshan. This was a unique initiative where children from NBB showcased their artistic prowess at the Wagha Attari Border as well as gathered some memorable moments with our BSF brethren.
Mrs Jindal reinstated the forgone Steam Locomotive Engine with the help of Indian Railways in her tenure. Thus, introducing a once a week heritage ride in this beloved heritage train.
Thanks to the efforts of Chairperson Smt Shallu Jindal, Toy Train Ride has now become ‘Bharat Darshan Ride.’ This journey around the NBB Campus is now equivalent to a journey around the nation. The inside boundary wall of Bal Bhavan has been painted with a Pan India theme to encourage and promote knowledge about our country. The toy train ride is no more a NBB Campus tour, but a journey from Kashmir to Kanyakumari.
The Director Chairperson Conference of NBB was an occasion to come together, collaborate and discuss new visions for future. Under Mrs Jindals’ inspiring leadership, the tradition was reviewed after a gap of few years. She also took special efforts to create a unique and enjoyable program with focus on CSR aspects to create a self-sustainable Bal Bhavan movement for the future. She also introduced panel discussions for greater enlightenment and meaningful discussions with renowned personalities and leaders from varied walks of life. The Conference also introduced an Art Night.
The Director Chairperson Conference of NBB, 2016, was organized in IHC and had special focus on innovation. The highlight was the discussions on making NBB movement more inclusive. A special panel discussion was organized on social inclusion, innovative curriculum and children education, which witnessed leaders from different children institutions joining Bal Bhavan leaders at the conference and encouraging a need to be innovative in changing times. The revised Bal Shree Scheme was also discussed.
National Bal Bhavan launched National Bal Shree scheme in 1995. National Bal Shree Honour is an initiative of National Bal Bhavan to identify the creative potential of children and motivate them to pursue and enhance their creative potential. The Bal Shree Scheme has been revised in recent years under leadership of Ms Jindal to introduce more streams and make it all-encompassing. Even Bal Shree Honor functions, which are much loved introduced live performances by awardees which was live telecasted with visual live displays at Vigyan Bhavan Honour.
Mrs Jindal introduced more activities in enriching the summer fiesta, by introducing Saturday special assemblies, route-based buses with more clarity to increase participation, Saturday assembly for performance opportunities & Popular Artist interaction day, where famous artists or inspiring leaders called for interaction during the 30-40 Day long Training. More than 50 different activities during summer for approximately 6000 children daily were introduced.
In a decisive step towards realizing this vision of an inclusive education environment in India, Svayam Foundation and National Bal Bhavan joined hands to launch India’s first Training Certificate Programme for teachers dealing with children with special needs. Ms. Sminu Jindal, Founder and Chairperson, Svayam Foundation and Dr Indumathi Rao, Vice Chairperson, National Bal Bhavan also graced the launch with their presence under leadership of Ms Shallu Jindal.
After witnessing the talent and creativity of children and faculty at NBB, Mrs Jindal was inspired to encourage everyone to open a Souvenir Shop where in products unique to NBB could be displayed. This would also contribute to encouraging local artisans by selling their products to visitors who are more than happy to receive valuable artwork and related products at reasonable prices.
Sport is a great means to build confidence among the young and it also brings great lessons for life, success and relentless pursuit of dreams. With these thoughts in mind, Ms Jindal decided to introduce a unique Sports Film Festival which also witnessed inspiring sports people who came for live interaction with children on the inaugural day. It was a 7-day festival which saw many sportsmen and women of high caliber like Ms Deepa Malik and many other ex NBB members who are successful in their individual sports. They shared their experiences and encouraged children to pursue sports as a career.
National Children’s Assembly and Integration Camp is an annual programme of NBB organised from 14th November to 19th November. With very innovative themes like MERA GAON MERA GAURAV, DOSTI SACHAI AUR SNEH, BAL SWATCHTA, etc., the camp has received much love and appreciation from children across the country. Ms Jindal introduced many new themes, festivals, programs and workshops unique to the themes each year making it enriched with each passing year.