Who are we?

The Economist has called The Citizens Foundation (TCF) “perhaps the largest network of independently run schools in the world.” TCF has nearly 1,500 schools in 700 sites across Pakistan. The foundation is the largest private employer of women in Pakistan, with an all-female faculty of 12,000 teachers and principals. TCF has 220,000 students this year. Eighty-eight percent of TCF alumni have gone to college and 71% are employed (Nadia Naviwala, Wilson Center, Islamabad, 2018).

Brochure Eng/Ita 2015  Download

Italian Friends of The Citizens Foundation is a group of women who are committed to the idea that all girls have the right to go to school. The group has been active since 2010, becoming an officially recognized charity (“Onlus”) in 2013.

The mission of our non-profit association is to raise awareness about, as well as funds for, The Citizens Foundation, a Pakistani NGO that builds and runs high-quality schools in low income communities in Pakistan. The association aims to communicate through events, seminars, University course presentations and through journalists throughout Italy, the important work being carried out by TCF in Pakistan.  We seek to inform the Italian public about the difficult conditions faced by disadvantaged kids, especially girls, in obtaining a high-quality education through the public system, and how TCF is successfully meeting this challenge.

Our organization

Italian Friends of TCF is led by dedicated volunteer leaders and a Board that seeks to guide our fundraising and communication efforts in Italy.

Our  Board of Directors is made up of the following:

Gretchen Romig – President

Francesca Gozo – Vicepresident

Sara Del Favero – Treasury

Laura Notaro – Head of Communications


Board Members

Marina Bastianello

Sara Del Favero

Alessandra della Porta Rodiani

Francesca Gozo

Lee Kirkpatrick Smith

Annapatrizia Menegon

Laura Rancati 

Gretchen Romig

Antonella Voltolina

Special Advisors

Anna Bises

Madeleine Johnson

Elizabeth Robinson

Farah Naz Khan Munari


What inspired us to begin?

The founders of Italian Friends of The Citizens Foundation consider education to be a fundamental human right. Recognizing that improving female access to schooling can change a whole community’s prospects and quality of life for the better, led us to support TCF and found our own group in Milan.

  • Pakistan’s out-of-school population is one of the highest in the world (second only to Nigeria), denying millions of children even basic education.
  • The high quality and effectiveness of the TCF schools is impressive and well documented.  TCFs attention and focus on getting girls to attend school; its transparency; the efficiency of its organization and professional approach; the talented leaders, teachers and kids that are part of the TCF family; the TCF model, all are factors that have led to TCF winning many international prizes in the social entrepreneurship field, most recently that of the Schwab Award for Social Entrepreneurship conferred at the World Economic Forum in Davos in 2016.  

Our Vision, Mission and Goals

We believe that education has an essential role in enlightening minds, instilling citizenship and unleashing the potential of every child. Children receiving an adequate education will grow up to be active citizens in their communities acting in light of the awareness, respect, and sense of justice and equality that they have gained through education. Through their schooling, they will be able to leave the trap of poverty and instead contribute to the wellbeing of the whole society. The mission of our non-profit is to raise awareness about, as well as funds for, TCF, in particular supporting a high-quality education for the most underprivileged children in Pakistan and favoring female access to school. Italian Friends of TCF hopes to support at least 4 afternoon sessions this year (2015) and facilitate TCF access to private and institutional funding from individuals as well as private and public entities for these excellent schools.