Sunday, August 14, 2011


In Delhi we visited Butterflies, an amazing organization dedicated to working with street children.  A staggering 20% of Delhi's population are child workers, many never get a chance to have an education.  Butterflies is an accredited educational institution that works very hard at meeting each individual child where they are at in order to provide an education. 

To Butterflies, "School" can mean a meeting on a sidewalk where reading and writing can be taught.  It could mean a bus parked nearby the main street selling areas where children are free to get on and learn during their "breaks" from work.  It could also mean providing a night shelter for street kids to live.  These shelters have meals, places to sleep, lockers for students, classrooms, and even computer labs.

This picture was taken at a night shelter.  Behind the boys lockers can be seen.  These lockers can be checked out for safe keeping of belongings.

At the shelter the main form of entertainment is TV

This is the classroom portion of the shelter, and it was also the first time we saw actual desks in an Indian classroom.

Here are two computers in their computer lab.  They took me way back!

Butterflies works with 1500 street children across Delhi, but it doesn't stop there.  There are over 135 branches across Southeast Asia in places such as Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Nepal, and others.  Not only do the students learn state curriculum, but also life skills such as banking.  Each shelter has a Children's Development Khazana (bank) to teach them money managing skills, budgeting, the importance of savings, basic accounting, and even loans.

The Khazana at the street shelter was opened especially for us to see how transactions were conducted...all student led.
The work that Butterflies does is incredibly hard to describe in a short blog.  They provide so many opportunities for the children on the street.  In addition to the education and banking described above, Butterflies also offers employment for some children to work at India's Childline (a helpline for lost and missing children).  The children also receive access to health care and vocational training.    We even learned that they publish their own newspaper called the Delhi Student Times, and they run their own BBC, Butterflies Broadcasting Company, with various media outputs.

This amazing organization is eager to work with American schools on various joint projects.  They would love to contact American students who can act as international reporters and write articles for the Delhi Student Times.  In addition, the Butterflies students could teach American students to set up their own Khazana.

For more information or contact, please visit

No comments:

Post a Comment