The Citizens Foundation
|Focus||Education, Economic independence, Women empowerment|
|Method||Donations and Grants|
The Citizens Foundation is a non-profit organization, and one of the largest privately owned networks of low-cost formal schools in Pakistan. The Foundation operates a network of 1,482 school units, educating 220,000 students through 12,000 teachers and principals, with over 17,400 employees.
The Citizens Foundation (TCF) was established in August 1995. It is a professionally managed charitable organization that builds and runs schools providing primary and secondary education to boys and girls in rural areas and urban slums of Pakistan. The founders initially made five schools, and after managing them successfully they planned further expansion. Today, TCF has managed to spread their network of education all over the country. As of April 2018, TCF has expanded its network to 1,482 operational school units, which provide education to 220,000 students. TCF aims to bring about an enduring positive change for the communities most in need through: quality education, enabling moral, spiritual and intellectual enlightenment and creating opportunities to improve quality of life.
TCF maintains a balanced gender ratio; close to 50% of students are female. In order to achieve this goal, TCF exclusively hires female teachers to make parents comfortable with the idea of sending their girls to schools. Each school hires support staff from within the community, who also help convince parents to send their children to school, especially girls.
Out of the population of 164,741,924 only 82,206,220 people are educated in Pakistan and 24% of the population are below the poverty line.
Like other developing countries of the world Pakistan also faces the issues of population explosion, poverty, unemployment, income disparity and low literacy rate. In 1995, six successful top-level managers of Pakistan attempted to find a way to solve these problems, and the root cause identified by them was education. Within a few months The Citizens Foundation (TCF) was formed in Karachi.
The Citizens Foundation provides primary and secondary level education, through which they are trying to bring about a qualitative and quantitative change in the education sector of Pakistan. The students at TCF schools are charged a nominal fee, out of which up to 95% scholarship is awarded along with uniforms and books on a pay-as-you-can-afford basis. This is judged on the basis of the overall household income of each family, its circumstances and education related expenses. Applicants for financial assistance provide necessary details about their family income and resources by completing a scholarship form. TCF school staff, through visits to the applicants' homes, verify this information. School principals then send completed scholarship forms, along with their recommendations to the Regional Office where the final decision is taken. Scholarships are given for one academic year and the recipients are eligible to reapply. Students who are eligible get uniforms and textbooks free of cost.
Teacher Training Center
In order to provide quality education to the students a Teacher Training Center was made in 1997, in Karachi. Every new teacher hired goes through four-weeks of extensive pre-service training before being permitted to teach at a TCF school. The training center closely evaluate the teachers during the year and provide training sessions from time to time as per requirement of the curriculum. At present there are 7,700 TCF-trained teachers teaching.
Earthquake relief operations
On October 8, 2005 Pakistan witnessed one of the worst natural disasters in its history, the earthquake in Azad Jammu and Kashmir and areas of NWFP. TCF provided earthquake victims with food, blankets and tents. Medical camps were set with adequate operation theatres. Rehabilitation process was started in which first 6,300 shelters were built to help over 60,000 victims survive the harsh winters. Then a layout was made to make permanent houses and Earthquake Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Authority (ERRA) approved the design of the house.
TCF also developed a water supply scheme in most villages to provide easy access to water for the people. Previously many people had to walk to the neighboring village to get water in buckets or pots. In the earthquake-affected areas the whole infrastructure was destroyed, many schools collapsed killing thousands of teachers and children. 21 schools will be built by TCF to help affected children.
Allocation of donations
Being a charitable organisation the sole source of income is donations. They receive nearly 80% of the funds from Pakistanis at home, which include corporate sponsorship and individuals. The rest of the donations are received from expatriate communities. More than 90% of the funds are utilized in the building and running of schools, providing equipment for libraries and science laboratories, children’s uniforms, books and snacks. The remaining are allocated for administration costs.
TCF’s accounts are audited and available to the public. It was assigned a non-profit organization (NPO) governance rating of GR-8 by JCR-VIS Credit Rating Co Ltd, denoting a high level of governance in TCF.
TCF has a network of supporters working for it worldwide. TCF, U.S. is a 501(c) (3) tax-exempt organization (recognized by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service). Friends of TCF, TCF’s UK Chapter, TCF UAE and TCF Canada are all registered in their respective countries and collect funds there to benefit TCF’s education programme.
- "Our Schools". TCF - The Citizens Foundation. 2015-05-14. Retrieved 2018-05-07.
- CIA - The World Factbook - Pakistan
- NBC: Pakistan's primary school revolution - World news - MSNBC.com
- "The Citizens Foundation on Instagram: "Every day, 722 TCF vans pass through varying terrains across Pakistan, covering a distance of more than 75,000 km. To put that in…"". Instagram. Retrieved 2018-05-14.
- Charity begins at home -DAWN - The Review; December 1, 2005