The Citizens Foundation

The Citizens Foundation

"It's the most fulfilling work I've ever done!"

 Isfandyar Inayat, Managing Director of TCF

Lead with vision: Build 1,000 schools in the first 20 years.

The Citizens Foundation (TCF) opened its first 5 schools in 1995 with approximately 700 enrollments. Their vision was to build 1,000 schools by 2016. This has been successfully accomplished before.

One in ten children worldwide who are not in school comes from Pakistan. It has the second highest number of children not attending school - after Nigeria - with 22.8 million children not getting an education in Pakistan. This is almost the entire population of Australia.

The education crisis is huge. TCF wants to take action to overcome it and actively contributes to solve the problem. They are making it possible to build local schools in Pakistan to fight illiteracy.

Take part in the fight for justice through your pocket !

5 friends, 1 goal

TCF started with 5 friends who are successful in business. But they want more, so they join forces. They want to be part of the solution to illiteracy. They sold some land and invested to build their first 5 schools with their own money. Soon many began to join them and support them; it became an educational movement.

Today there are 1,687 school units nationwide with 275,000 students. It is the world's largest network of private schools in the social sector.

40 years ago, education in Pakistan was a matter of supply and demand. Today, the value of education has shifted and demand has increased dramatically. Parents know that it will bring prosperity to the family. They are willing to invest in their children.

The average monthly income of TCF alumni who are 22 years old or older is 56% higher than the average monthly income of those fathers who support the entire household. This shows that education changes the lives of individuals with great opportunities and also has an impact on communities and the future.

TCF measures its results by the number of lives changed. Education enables freedom, creates choices for one's own path in life and helps a child's entire family.

TCF's model is based on 4 main points

(1) First, the location: The school should be built near a community so that children can easily go to school. Research shows that enrollment drops by 30% when the location is further than 1 km from one's home. Those who cannot afford education usually cannot afford transportation.

(2) Secondly, parents and children should feel the added value of education in their lives. When the child comes home and suggests to their parents to “wash their hands otherwise we will get sick,” tells them anything about treating others with respect, or learns new words in Urdu, the parents recognize the children’s learning curve. They couldn't have learned anything at home. The children's positive development based on their time at school can be felt at home.

(3) Third, the learning environment. The school should be safe and clean - this is particularly important for female students enrolling in school. Parents feel more comfortable sending their daughters to female-led faculties knowing that there is no room for sexual abuse. “We are the largest female employer in the private sector with over 13,000 women,” says Isfandyar Inayat. TCF schools ensure a balanced girl-boy ratio. At 48% and 52%, they both provide equal education. Isfandyar Inayat insists: “It is a myth that parents do not want to send their daughters to school. They will do so as long as safe institutions are provided to them.”

(4) Lastly, the school should be affordable for parents. The children pay a small fee for their education – between 10 cents and a maximum of €2.5 per school year. TCF decided to introduce a minimal fee because they noticed a change in self-esteem. Therefore, parents do not feel that their children are learning in charity schools and can hold the other party responsible. TCF offers co-educational primary and secondary schools up to 10th grade. With subjects such as English, mathematics, science, social studies, literature and Urdu, children receive a high-quality education. Students learn values ​​such as coexistence, compassion and community service. Through its alumni department, TCF knows approximately 90% of its former students choose secondary education and 45% choose higher education.

“Thank you for your extensive research and investment in finding credible institutions to support. We are very proud to have been selected by Buckle & Seam to collaborate.”

Our collaboration began with a shared belief and understanding that ultimately all the answers lie in education. What actually helps Pakistan is investing in education. Buckle & Seam's support has so far changed up to 350 lives by keeping children off the streets. It's not just 350 children who benefit from the support, but also their families.

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COVID-19 as a challenge and an opportunity

One of the biggest challenges during COVID-19 has been the staggering digital divide. Only 2% of children in Pakistan are equipped with reliable devices and connected to the internet. After such a learning break, if there is no intervention, there is a sharp decline in school enrollment rates due to the decline in education. According to Save the Children UK, 1 million students will not return to school. To ensure continuation of education, TCF has partnered with Pakistan Television and developed television-based programs for children. They have also created a bi-weekly magazine with stories, puzzles and exercises with various tasks that are given to the children to complete and return to the teacher. Older students can meet with volunteers or teachers in small groups outside of school, with all safety precautions in place. Advice sessions during and after the lockdown for children and parents were also promoted in order to find their way back into the system. TCF is continuously working on a project to preserve education in times of crisis. We are happy to collaborate with TCF and look forward to further success. Find out more about TCF here. 

We are happy to collaborate with TCF and look forward to further success.

Find out more about TCF here.

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