Butterflies was born with the core value and belief that it must be a democratic organisation and children’s voices have to be listened to seriously. Children’s participation in decision making processes is central to Butterflies’ work ethos. It is non institutional in its approach as Butterflies believes that institutionalising children should be the last resort. The importance of strengthening families and communities to protect and take care of children is strongly advocated as families are the first line of defense for children. Butterflies’ emphasis is on supporting children to continue schooling, impart life skills education so that they can exit from generational poverty. The organisation’s core belief is children have a right to be heard, to be consulted, to take their views seriously in all decisions that concern them.
In keeping with this core value Butterflies facilitated a children’s forum in Delhi called Delhi Child Rights Club in 1998 which has children from 13 NGOs as its members. DCRC has commented on various government policies and legislations related to children; the very recent being the draft national policy on children. DCRC has taken up the issue of right to play with the Mayors & Chief Minister of Delhi to get access to play grounds and open spaces for children to play.
In addition, Butterflies has facilitated and is the convenor of National Alliance of Grassroots NGOs for Protection of Child Rights (NAGN), an alliance of 39 grassroots community based organizations from 13 states. Butterflies has also facilitated and is the convenor of South Asian Alliance of Grassroots NGOs (SAAGN) having 136 members from the region. The reason for coming together as an alliance was for the voices of small grassroots organisations to be heard and for Butterflies to lobby for the rights of the most marginalized communities. Best practices are also shared among alliance members who are constantly learning and finding ways to be creative and innovative in their functioning.