The Citizens Foundation’s Adult Literacy Program Has been Named as 2021 Best Practice Honoree by the Library of Congress

The Citizens Foundation’s Adult Literacy Program Has been Named as 2021 Best Practice Honoree by the Library of Congress


TCF’s Aagahi Program announced among the winners and honorees in the Library of Congress Literacy Awards

HOUSTON, TX, UNITED STATES, September 13, 2021 / — The Citizens Foundation is proud to announce that it has been honored by the Library of Congress for its outstanding contributions to increasing literacy.

TCF, which runs 1,687 equal-opportunity schools in Pakistan’s poorest urban and rural communities, was selected as a 2021 Best Practice Honoree in the prestigious Library of Congress Literacy Awards.

While TCF’s primary focus is providing quality education for underprivileged girls and boys in Pakistan with its all-female faculty and purpose-built schools, the non-profit is playing a huge role in transforming many adult lives through its Adult Literacy Program, Aagahi — a community-based four-month curriculum, teaching basic numeracy and literacy skills including learning modules for life skills to enable reading the newspaper, reading and writing simple notes and letters, filling in a form, opening and maintaining a bank account, basic arithmetic for household expenses and budgeting, paying bills, reading and sending messages on Smartphones, and other essentials.

Since its inception, Aagahi has empowered over 150,000 women from disadvantaged communities to read and writeTCF

The program targets women – mothers, grandmothers, sisters, and daughters – who missed out altogether on going to school, often to help with chores at home or to go out to work as a child to help pay the family’s bills. To date, 150,000 adult women in Pakistan have graduated through TCF’s Aagahi Program.

TCF Adult Literacy Program is Library of Congress Honoree

TCF Adult Literacy Program is Library of Congress Honoree

Becoming literate has changed the lives of Aagahi students

Becoming literate has changed the lives of Aagahi students

TCF empowers women and girls through education

TCF empowers women and girls through education

In 2017, Aagahi was awarded the UNESCO Confucius Prize for Literacy.

More on Aagahi

Aagahi (literally ‘awareness’ in Urdu) aims to empower communities through education. It is a community-based literacy program primarily for women who missed going to school at an appropriate age. The program also includes young girls who either dropped out of school or have never been to school.

Women are nearly half of Pakistan’s 220 million population. According to a government survey*, only 50% of women and girls 10 or older have attended school or are able to read and write in any language. Low literacy levels are a key barrier to women’s participation in skilled jobs, and why most women are limited to low-paying work as rural farm laborers or domestic helpers in urbanized areas. Aagahi has evolved as a pathway especially for women from disadvantaged communities—and for out-of-school girls—to learn to read and write. Since its inception in 2005, over 150,000 women have completed the program and now have the capability to make more independent and informed decisions and be more involved in their children’s education and progress in school.

The classes are held in the evenings either at TCF schools or at independent learning centers in homes or other locations in the community. Classes are in four-month sessions.

TCF partners with the Literate Pakistan Foundation to provide learning materials and training for TCF instructors.

The Aagahi Curriculum

The mothers and girls are taught to read and write in the local language, typically Urdu, plus basic math skills and reading and writing of alphabets and simple words in English. The curriculum utilizes workbooks to learn phonetics-based recognition of alphabets, words and sentences, and a book to learn basic numeracy. Financial literacy modules have been added to the curriculum.

Topics on personal health, hygiene, and sanitation are also covered including prevention of common ailments (malaria, diarrhea, etc.), and maintenance of a clean environment.

Expanding Aagahi

TCF plans to extend the program to other school sites and communities as well as industrial worksites. Aagahi was piloted at a worksite for factory workers at a textile plant. *Pakistan Social and Living Standards Measurement Survey, 2018-19.

About the Library of Congress Literacy Awards

The Library of Congress Literacy Awards are intended to draw public attention to the importance of literacy, and the need to promote literacy and encourage reading.

Since 2013, the Library of Congress Literacy Awards Program has awarded $2,247,250 million in prizes to 136 institutions in 36 countries. By recognizing current achievements, the awards seek to enable any organization or program that does not operate on a for-profit basis to strengthen its involvement in literacy and reading promotion and to encourage collaboration with like-minded organizations.

About TCF

The Citizens Foundation runs 1,687 schools (including more than 350 adopted public schools) in Pakistan’s most challenged communities with an all-female teaching staff and focus on enrollment and retention of girls in schools. Gender parity in TCF schools is nearly 50%.

TCF is the largest private employer of women in the country. In addition to 13,000 teachers and school principals, many women work in TCF departments involving strategic planning, academics, quality assurance, monitoring and evaluation of teachers, curriculum development, marketing, and school management.

Through funding by generous Pakistani and international donors, TCF school alumni girls and boys from the poorest slums and rural communities are going to university, becoming teachers, engineers, physicians, lawyers, and joining the civil service, police force, and defense services as officers.