THE CITIZENS FOUNDATION

A Thriving Role Model

SADAF AURANGZAIB,
SENIOR CORRESPONDENT
Sep 10 - 16, 2007

The following information has been provided by The Citizens Foundation (TCF) Public Relations department/courtesy TCF on my query about certain aspects of their operational services.

The Citizens Foundation is a professionally managed, not-for-profit organization set up in 1995 by a group of citizens, concerned with the dismal state of education in Pakistan and is one of the country's leading organizations in the field of formal education. To date, TCF has established around 455 purpose-built Primary and Secondary School units nationwide, including schools in earthquake-affected areas, with an enrollment of about 55, 000 deserving girls and boys. TCF also has a dedicated Teacher Training Center in Karachi for the ongoing training of its faculty. TCF has created over 3500 jobs of which 3000 are female faculty positions.

TCF credits its inception to six individuals from the corporate sector, who decided to contribute to society by providing quality education which would serve as one of the keys to address the labyrinth of problems the country is faced with. The decision was made and the realization was quick. By May 1996, even before the Foundation had registered as an NPO, 5 purpose built schools in the most impoverished areas of Karachi had started functioning.

Today, the name TCF is synonymous with education; imparting formal and quality primary and secondary education to the most deprived and neglected children of society. This is the largest such institute of its kind. By 2015 TCF envisages 1000 such school units enrolling over 360,000 students across Pakistan. TCF schools are growing at the rate of one school per week.

TCF is registered in Pakistan as a Company limited by guarantee under section 42 of the Companies Ordinance, 1984 and its accounts are audited by M/s KPMG Taseer Hadi & Co. TCF is ranked amongst the top five scoring organizations certified by the Pakistan Centre for Philanthropy (PCP) and has received high non-profit (NPO) governance rating of GR-8 by JCR-VIS Credit Rating Co Ltd.

TCF'S VISION:

To remove barriers of class and privilege to make the citizens of Pakistan agents of positive change.

TCF'S MISSION:

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

To achieve the above goals and objectives, TCF is constantly surveying education-deprived locations in Pakistan to extend its education program. Each new location is appraised through an extensive land survey, assessment of population, income level, number and standard of existing schools in the area, demand for new school units, availability of an accessible site to build a school, qualified teachers in the area and a number of other criteria.

SUMMARY OF WHAT WE HAVE ACHIEVED SO FAR:

455 purpose-built school units (343 Primary Units and 112 Secondary Units) nationwide

55,000 students

50:50 gender ratio

Over 4,500 jobs created with more than 3,000 female faculty positions

Dedicated Teacher Training Center for ongoing training of faculty.

Top five scoring ranking as certified by the Pakistan Centre for Philanthropy (PCP) and high non-profit (NPO) governance rating of GR-8 by JCR-VIS Credit Rating Co Ltd

ROAD MAP FOR PLANS AHEAD (NEXT 5-YEAR PLAN):

1. Manage concrete guidelines and metrics for world-class quality education.

2. Develop new primary and secondary school units at the rate of 100 per year through construction, acquisition, and expansion, maximizing available resources; pursue regional expansion in a strategically planned manner; upgrade 25% of secondary schools to higher secondary and enable 60% of primary students to attend secondary school with TCF by 2012.

3. Undertake key initiatives and activities to support sustainable funding for TCF particularly for the ongoing management and operations of TCF schools.

4. Provide critical, meaningful, and relevant tools for TCF graduates to build a better future, providing guidance, serving as a liaison, and creating opportunities where needed.

5. Lead strategic alliances and activities to promote poverty alleviation, preventive health, and environmental and social development, prioritizing for communities where TCF has presence and focusing on below:

Vocational Training

Adult Literacy

Drinkable Water

TCF STUDENTS

Our students comprise of boys and girls from families in education-deprived rural and urban slums of the country. TCF has managed to maintain a 50% female student body. TCF schools are built within walking distance of the communities so they are easily accessible especially for girls.

SPOTLIGHTING A TCF STUDENT: SABA HAMEED

When young Saba Hameed speaks, the eloquence and confidence radiating from her is awe inspiring. Hailing from a small village in Punjab and belonging to a family of farmers with a background of non-existent education, it is hard to believe that Saba has outshined amongst her more privileged counterparts and achieved 3rd position in her intermediate examinations in all of Punjab. She is now proudly on her way to University to pursue a professional degree.

Saba has been with TCF since grade V1. As a second-year student of TCF Higher Secondary School Pilot Project in Minhala-Kalan, Lahore initiated two years ago, she amazed every one by securing a hefty 83% in her Class XI exam. Saba is from the first batch that has graduated from TCF's Higher Secondary Program.

TCF TEACHERS:

Due to cultural restrictions in most underdeveloped areas of Pakistan, a large number of parents do not allow their girls to attend schools with male teachers. In order to encourage female enrollment, TCF employs only female faculty and provides them a free pick and drop transportation facility. TCF's 50% female enrollment is partly thanks to this policy. Further, in regions where cultural values restrict female job choices; our schools provide a good opportunity for women of the community to get involved and financially assist their households.

Each faculty staff member goes through four-weeks of extensive pre-service training before allowed teaching at a TCF school. In addition, our faculty is given annual developmental training to update their knowledge and equip them with latest teaching skills

TCF MANAGEMENT:

TCF is professionally run under a Chief Executive Officer (CEO).The Chief Operating Officer (COO) looks after the operational side and manages the various regions TCF schools are located in. The administration arm of the organization comprises of Education department, Resource Mobilization and Marketing, Human Resources, Finance, Information Technology, and Procurement and Logistics.

TCF ADMINISTRATION COSTS:

TCF has managed to keep our administration costs at 9.6% for every $100 received, over $90 is spent to directly serve the cause.

EXCELLENCE IN EXTRA-CURRICULAR ACTIVITIES:

TCF believes that along with academics quality education comprises of extra-curricular activities and personality building opportunities as well. Our students have been excelling in extra-curricula's. Two of our students won 3rd prizes in the prestigious Unilever Art Competition, held in Karachi, Pakistan in December 2006. A total of 150 schools participated across the nation, including private, elite schools. Out of several thousand entries 250 pieces were short-listed, 25 of which were by TCF students.

IMPACT ON THE COMMUNITY:

We believe that lack of literacy is one of the root causes of poverty. Also, we know that there is a direct correlation between the average life expectancy at birth and adult literacy rate. People who have learned to read and write are more attentive to hygiene and health, less fatalistic and more likely to turn to a doctor in time of need. Education can make the difference between temporary alleviation and long-term solutions.

TCF schools create a number of job opportunities for both skilled and unskilled persons. During construction there is a requirement for construction workers, handymen, transportation and other facilities. After construction, our schools require teachers, principals, guards, drivers, maids. These efforts will go a long way in alleviating poverty in different regions across the country.

DONORS AND SUPPORTERS

TCF has very dedicated groups of supporters in Pakistan, USA, Canada, UK, UAE and Bahrain who have established TCF's presence in their respective countries.

IN PAKISTAN

'Supporters of The Citizens Foundation' (STCF) in Pakistan was first established in Karachi by a group of motivated citizens. This Karachi Chapter of STCF was formed a year after the establishment of TCF and gradually, STCF chapters were setup in Lahore and Rawalpindi as well. In Karachi, the STCF has 5 sub-committees that are involved in specific activities such as Events Management, Donor Relations, Zakat, Public Awareness and Each One Teach One.

IN UAE

'Supporters of The Citizens Foundation' (STCF) in UAE was the first chapter of TCF to be set-up overseas. Success of our UAE chapter owes largely to the support of the Ladies Group in Dubai, the Abu Dhabi group and the SAHARAY group. TCF has been granted a license by the Dubai Humanitarian City (DHC). DHC is a new initiative launched by the Dubai government catering to organizations involved in humanitarian effort.

It is one of only three organizations to date, which have been granted this license. TCF received this license on July 1, 2004 as "The Citizens Foundation", Dubai, after going through a six-month process of due diligence by DHC. STCF have created significant awareness of TCF in UAE and collected generous contributions to fund the construction and operations of a number of TCF schools.

IN UK

Based in London, with regional networks across Britain, The Friends of the Citizens Foundation FTCF is a UK charity committed to making education accessible to children in Pakistan. Through its charity events, corporate sponsorship and individual donations, FTCF supports the building and staffing of primary and secondary schools across Pakistan, in its most underprivileged areas. It costs just 10 per month to educate a child at a TCF school. It costs 6,000 to run a school for a year.

IN USA

The Citizens Foundation, USA (TCF-USA) funds schools and educational programs for underprivileged children in Pakistan. TCF-USA is a 501(c) (3) tax-exempt organization, incorporated in Illinois. Donations made to TCF-USA are tax deductible. TCF-USA is a volunteer based organization with Support Groups in most regions of the U.S.

The Citizens Foundation, USA is a philanthropic charity with underprivileged children and their education at the heart of its mission.

IN CANADA

"The Citizens Foundation, Canada' (TCF Canada) was incorporated under the Canada Corporation Act (File number 428182-9) in April 2005. It aims to work towards building a network of supporters and volunteers for TCF all over Canada. Since its inception, the Chapter has been instrumental in the construction of 5 TCF schools. It is also supporting the operations of two other primary schools. TCF Canada was launched officially in Toronto on June 10th, 2005, at the joint event of the Royal Commonwealth Society and the Canada-Pakistan Business Council. Currently, TCF Canada's first office is operating in Toronto.

IN BAHRAIN

Supporters of TCF in Bahrain are focused on creating more awareness about TCF's cause and raising funds for its Education program through the Pakistani community and friends of TCF in Bahrain. Launched in November 2000, TCF-Bahrain Chapter has been diligently proving its commitment in supporting two TCF Schools in Khushab, Punjab since April 2001. In 2006, Pakistani Women's Association (PWA) of Bahrain partnered with TCF and made a significant contribution towards the construction cost of a TCF Primary School in Mansehra. This area has been deeply affected as a result of massive devastation post-8 October 2005 Earthquake.

OUR STUDENTS' FUTURE:

With 11 years behind it, TCF now has students graduating from its schooling system and continuing higher education or entering professional lives. 12 of TCF girls, after having acquired and completed their education at TCF, have re-entered the system as teachers.

AN EXAMPLE STATED BELOW:

Erum Ara, one of five children, used to struggle to survive in her shanty town, Yaqoob Basti Manghopir in Karachi. Erum's father Lal Bukhsh could never hold a steady job to support his growing number of kids. Evidently Erum's poor mother had to resort to working as a maid in the nearby affluent neighborhood to make ends meet.

.It was Erum's yearning for change and her love for education that kept her committed to her studies throughout her childhood. She was a student at TCF School in Umer Maingal Goth. She studied for 5 years in that school called Crescent Steel campus. In times when the bare necessities of life were difficult for her family to attain, Erum refused to give up on her education and diligently kept on working hard and studying to complete her matriculation with flying colors in the year 2003. She got an A-1 grade with 83.4%.

After school, Erum Ara joined Abdullah Government College in Karachi and successfully completed her Intermediate. She is currently enrolled in BS, a 3 year course in Z.A School of Medical Technology at Sindh Institute of Urology and transplantation in the area of intensive care sciences. From TCF she has been awarded Hassan Memorial trust Scholarship to fund for her scholastic expenses.

CAREER COUNSELING AND PLACEMENT:

Further, a Placement Desk was established last year to provide guidance to students graduating from TCF schools after matriculation. Standard Chartered Bank is one of the sponsors providing scholarships to our students for their entire college education.