The Citizens Foundation
The Citizens Foundation (TCF) is one of the largest non-profit organization in Pakistan in the field of education. It was established in 1995, by a group of like-minded citizens in Karachi. The vision of this non-profit organization is to bring a positive change in Pakistan by providing quality education to the less-privileged youth. As of April 2013, TCF has expanded its network to 910 operational school units, which provides education to 126,000 students nationwide.
TCF is a corporate style charitable organization that builds and runs schools offering high-quality primary and secondary education to both boys and girls in the most undeveloped rural and urban areas. 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 Pakistan. As of April 2013 TCF has expanded its network to 910 operational school units, which provides education to 126,000 students nationwide.TCF Mission is to bring about an enduring positive change for communities with greatest need through: The power of quality education, enabling moral, spiritual and intellectual enlightenment and creating opportunities to improve quality of life.
In TCF schools a balanced gender ratio is maintained; close to 50% students are female. This was not an easy goal to accomplish – in many families female education is not encouraged. In order to achieve this goal female staff and teachers were hired to make parents comfortable with the idea of sending their girls to TCF schools. Moreover, each school hires at least two women from within the community who convinces the 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 is below poverty line.
Like other developing countries of the world Pakistan also faces the same issues of population explosion, poverty, unemployment, income disparity and low literacy rate. Governments of the developing countries are trying to solve the problems, governments of the developed nations try to help by giving aid and solutions, and international organizations recognize the significance of the issue and support the cause. But the issues cannot be resolved unless the initiative to eradicate the problem is taken by the citizens’ themselves.
In 1995, six successful top-level managers of Pakistan took the initiative to solve these problems, and the root cause identified by them was education. Within 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. It’s 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, verifies this information. Finally, school principals 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. Deserving students get uniforms and textbooks free of cost.
The Foundation of Every State is the Education of its Youth.
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 responsibility of the training center does not end on pre service training, but in fact they 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 5,400 TCF-trained teachers imparting education.
Allocation of donations
Being a charitable organization the source of income solely depends on 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 the expatriate communities around the world. For any charitable organization it is important to have a transparent accountable structure, where the donors should be able to see the productive outcome of their donations. TCF has a clear vision, a set of rules and transparency in its work. They are very particular about the management of the funds. 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 is allotted 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.
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. In the hour of need where the whole world came forward to support the distressed Pakistanis TCF was also in the forefront to support the earthquake victims by providing them 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 of water to 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. TCF with its years experience in building and operating schools, naturally decided to give the children of the village a new hope by establishing schools. 21 schools will be built to help the children restore order in their lives.
Thanks to its supporters and friends, TCF has reached across people internationally. To take its program forward, TCF has a strong 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 extensive education program.
- CIA - The World Factbook - Pakistan
- NBC: Pakistan's primary school revolution - World news - MSNBC.com
- Charity begins at home -DAWN - The Review; December 1, 2005