Mushtaq Chhapra

The Citizens Foundation

The Citizen's Foundation provides access to affordable, high quality primary education to children, especially girls, from economically disadvantaged families in Pakistan.

Focus: Education
Geographic Area of Impact: Pakistan
Model: Leveraged non-profit
Number of Direct Beneficiaries: 126,938 (2013)
Annual Budget: USD 14.8 million (2013)
Percentage Earned Revenue: 1% (2013)

The Social Problem
Pakistan’s education system is lagging significantly behind in terms of ensuring universal access to education – according to a UN estimate, the country has 20 million children out-of-school, the second highest in the world. The system also often demonstrates a discriminatory trend against women. The overall literacy rate is 46%, while only 26% of girls are literate. The situation is particularly alarming in rural areas where a number of cultural and economic hurdles prevent girls from attending school. Education of girls is often prohibited for religious reasons or because they are expected to work and support their poor households.

Innovation and Activities
Set up in 1995, the Citizens Foundation (TCF) is one of Pakistan’s leading providers of formal education. Innovations implemented by TCF over the past 18 years have resulted in the largest network of formal private schools for underprivileged communities in the world. TCF currently operates 1,000 purpose built school units with 145,000 students in slums and villages across 100 towns and cities of Pakistan. More than 11,500 people gained employment across Pakistan, with 7,700 female teachers earning livelihoods from TCF schools.

Working on changing deep rooted social structures, TCF pays particular attention to the education of girls – in most of its schools, 50% of the student body constitutes girls. Most schools are located in the heart of low income neighbourhoods so children can walk to school. In other instances, it arranges transfers of girl children from their houses to schools. The schools have fully functioning facilities so that students do not have to leave the premises during the day. All teachers are female and TCF often recruits and trains teachers from amongst girls who graduate from its schools.

To ensure access and affordability of education, TCF covers actual costs per child through philanthropic funding and charges a nominal fee to its clients – an average of USD 2.90 for primary school and USD 3.90 for secondary school per month. Based on household incomes, it also offers a four-tiered scholarship structure, with some students paying only USD 0.10 per month. The quality of education imparted by TCF schools consistently surpasses national academic averages. A strong internal audit unit ensures quality control complemented by a robust data collection and impact measurement system. In the next three years, TCF plans to grow to 1,200 schools and 190,000 children. It also plans to launch a franchise model to help formal low cost education providers enhance their reach.

The Entrepreneur
Mushtaq is a highly respected and decorated social entrepreneur. He was awarded the Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship (2013) and is a member of the Clinton Global Initiative for his work with TCF. A businessman and philanthropist, Mushtaq also serves as an honorary counsul general for the Nepalese Consulate in Karachi.