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Mushtaq Chhapra

Mushtaq Chhapra is a businessman, philanthropist, and decorated social entrepreneur. Mushtaq was awarded the Sitara-e-Imtiaz, one of Pakistan's highest civilian awards. His business experience and national prominence have enabled him to influence donors and the government on behalf of TCF, serving on the board and devoting the majority of his voluntary time to the foundation. TCF’s founders are businessmen whose experience of running large, family-owned, companies helped shape TCF’s emphasis on professionalism, a mission-centric and values-driven organizational culture, and its ability to scale nationwide. Chhapra is a Skoll Foundation awardee and member of the Clinton Global Initiative, in addition to being a Schwab Foundation Social Entrepreneur of the Year.

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The Citizens Foundation
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Non-profit Social Enterprise
Education; Gender Inequality
Areas of Impact
South Asia, Pakistan

The Citizens Foundation

The Citizens Foundation (TCF) has evolved a model to establish schools and deliver quality education in Pakistan’s most neglected urban slums and rural communities, catering to out of school children, especially girls. Pakistan has the second highest number of out-of-school children in the world. TCF is one of the world’s largest networks of formal schools for the less privileged sustained through philanthropy.

A faculty of 12,000 teachers and principals composed only of women makes TCF the largest private employer of women in Pakistan. With 1,482 school units in 61 districts across Pakistan, the Foundation has mastered the challenge of operating at scale. TCF has over 200,000 students. Ensuring that half of the student body is girls has been a priority for TCF’s founders from the start. TCF has achieved a nearly 50-50 gender ratio by listening to parents and incorporating innovations such as employing only women teachers and building schools in the heart of communities within walking distance for children. Some 99% of TCF students pass national exams that allow them to graduate at the end of 10th grade, compared to 47% nationally. After 23 years, almost 23,300 students have graduated from TCF Schools, of which 88% have continued their education beyond matriculation. Today, 71% of the alumni aged 22 or more are employed or running their own enterprise while another 15% are still studying.

The organization follows the founders’ belief that poor children do not deserve poor schools. TCF has therefore invested in designing systems that identify, harness, and develop the potential of women in remote communities to become great teachers and school leaders. Digital tools are used to build teachers’ capacity and effectiveness rather than replace them. The foundation has developed its own curriculum and textbooks in Urdu (Pakistan’s national language) drawing from the best materials available around the world and adapted to the context of a less privileged child in Pakistan. TCF has also developed its own assessment system through an internal testing unit, in addition to external assessments conducted by independent experts.


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