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Citizens Foundation Building Schools - One At A Time

Nirmala Garimella

Five years, ago, Masooma Bhaiwala, a resident of Andover visited a school in Karachi, Pakistan funded and run by an organization called the Citizens Foundation (TCF) and came home inspired and wanting to do something more. She describes her visit where she walked through some of the dusty bylanes with run down homes in Karachi to reach the school building. Once inside the school however, she was amazed at the building’s infrastructure, resources and the curriculum offered to students from poor marginalized families. Children came from within a 5mile radius and she saw how they all were motivated and happy to learn. What struck her too was that 50% of the students enrolled were girls and the all female teachers were professionals trained in their subjects with 90% of the students on scholarships.

She credits all this to TCF, a non- profit organization based in US that supports the education of underprivileged children in Pakistan. It has an active network of over 30 chapters in cities across the United States, Including Boston. In 22 years, it has built and operates 1,482 purpose-built schools providing quality education to 220,000 children, with an all-female faculty of 12,000 teachers.

For Masooma, it was a no brainer then to go through TCF when she finally decided to help. Her brother Irfan Vaziri, an oncologist by profession in Nebraska joined her to pool in their resources with a gift of $300,000 to TCF that will build a school and provide five years of support. As Masooma says, “It took me a while to save this money for this purpose but I have always felt that education is the key to peace and stability in the region and open up opportunities to these children”. Her strong belief that this is the only way comes from her own example growing up. “Our parents migrated in 1970 to Pakistan and their biggest investment for the family was sending us to good schools so we had a proper education. We are forever grateful for this”. She and her brother hope that this gift which will be formally announced on December 1st at the annual TCF Boston gala in honor of their mother Nafisa Vaziri will be a fitting way to give back to the community.

Masooma believes that organizations like TCF are the hope for the thousands of girls and boys in Pakistan seeking a better life with education as the main focus. The organization started by a group of Entrepreneurs passionate to bring about change is now a leading non- profit respected for its transparency and commitment to education. Besides building schools, the organization runs other community programs and aids Government schools in Pakistan. TCF-USA donors have built and support over 200 of these elementary & secondary schools with an enrollment of 65,000+ boys and girls.

In the end, Masooma says, we all can make a difference to the world we live in a small but impactful way, one positive action at a time.


For more information please visit https://www.tcfusa.org

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