Butterflies is a registered voluntary organisation working with the most vulnerable groups of children, especially street and working children since 1989. With a rights based, non-institutional approach the organisation endeavours to educate and impart life skills to vulnerable children so that they become self reliant. Over the years Butterflies has initiated a number of innovative interventions in the field and partnered with various government and non-government agencies to garner support for children. The main programmes are Education, Children’s Development Khazana (life skills programme teaching financial management), Child Health Cooperative (CHC), Children’s Media (radio, video, newspaper and theatre), Resilience Centre & Childline (1098, 24 hour helpline for children in crisis), vocational training (includes Butterflies School of Culinary & Catering and computer education), Right to Play and Child Social Protection Committee Programme. Butterflies also has a research, advocacy and training wing that works to support mobilization of civil society and influences policies at all levels. It is an active participant in national and international networks for advocating and promoting policies, programmes and actions to protect rights of children.
Butterflies is also working with children in Uttarakhand since 2010 and in the Tsunami affected areas of Andaman and Nicobar Islands since 2005. Till 2015, Butterflies was also running a programme for children in conflict with law in partnership with the government of Delhi. Butterflies has earned recognition worldwide for its innovative, realistic and relevant programmes for street and working children. Empowering these children with knowledge and skills to exit out of the cycle of illiteracy and poverty is what we strive for.
Butterflies is a member of Family for Every Child, a global alliance of local civil society organisations from around the world working together to ensure that more children grow up safe and protected within families. Through Family, we advocate for better child protection policies and services, we share good practices and innovation, we carry out research on the issues faced by children in our contexts and we continuously learn from each other and with partners to improve the way we work. For more information, check http://www.familyforeverychild.org
Butterflies reaches out to almost 5,200 children every year through various interventions in all project areas and has touched the lives of more than 70,000 children since inception. Children’s participation is the core belief of all the programs implemented by Butterflies.
Butterflies will continue to work with the most vulnerable groups of children. To make sure that such children have the opportunities to reach their full potential, whatever that might be. To give children a voice and tools to raise issues which have a bearing on their lives and to facilitate the changes that will enable them to become valued and productive citizens. To encourage children to have confidence and motivation and means to make the world a better place for themselves and for their children. To influence government policies which affect children and to ensure that child rights are an integral item on all government political agendas. To work in partnership with international agencies to raise awareness of problems which affect marginalized children everywhere. To use the Constitution of India and UNCRC to advocate for children’s rights. Butterflies’ goal is to continuously seek approaches and strategies for working with children in their efforts and struggles in protecting their rights.
A world where every child is loved and respected regardless of race, religion, class or caste. Is fed and clothed and housed within a caring family environment. Has free access to quality education and training in line with her or his abilities and interest. Has free access to quality health care. Has free access to right to play and leisure. Has a voice and can speak out without fear of the consequences. Is free from exploitation and abuse and from direct or indirect effects of armed conflict or communal violence. A world where every child is free to be a child and live in dignity and has a hope for future. Butterflies addresses the challenge of making the Constitution of India and UNCRC a reality, particularly for those children who are most vulnerable, neglected, abused and exploited. Butterflies is committed within its mandate to work towards solidarity among voluntary organizations, Government and all Civil Society Organisations for addressing the concerns of all children.
Awards & Recognition
- Ms.Rita Panicker was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award 2016 by the National Association of Professional Social Workers in India for her distinct contribution in the domain of child rights, especially street & working children at the 4th Indian Social Work Congress.
- Rita Panicker honoured by Shri Amitabh Bachan in the new Star Plus show Aaj Ki Raat Hai Zindagi – 2015
- ‘Vanitha Woman of the Year 2013’ by the Malayala Manorama group. Award instituted to acknowledge the work done by Malayali women to serve our society
- “IGSSS Shrestha Puruskar,2011”, by the Indo Global Social Service Society in New Delhi for pioneering work in bringing significant changes in the lives of street and working children.
- Nominated in 2009 for the “Right Livelihood Award” and was one of the finalists for the award.
- Zee Pehal Pioneering Personalities L. N. Goel Award in 2006.
- “Women of Social Work Excellence” by Manava Seva Dharmasamvardhani Charitable Trust for Social Service Consciousness, Chennai, on 27 February 2002.
- Children’s Development Khazana started by Butterflies in 2001 received the Second Prize in the 2006 Global Development Network Award for the Most Innovative Development Project. This award is given to the institution whose ongoing project embodies a fresh approach to an important development need and holds the greatest promise for benefiting the poor in developing and transition countries. Criteria include the degree of innovation and the potential for broad application of the project in other countries.
- The Ramachandran – Ikeda Award 1999 was conferred on Butterflies in appreciation of their work in education, healthcare and recreation of street and working children. The award was conferred on Butterflies for following Gandhian philosophy of education i.e. schools should be living school where children are taught life skills education, to respect work especially those who work with their hands and to respect and accept all irrespective of language, religion or caste.