Corporate Philanthropy in Pakistan

Pakistan Centre for Philanthropy (PCP)

These reports examine the philanthropic contributions toward social development by the corporate sector in Pakistan.

Pakistan Giving Index

Pakistan Centre for Philanthropy

The Pakistan Giving Index by the Pakistan Centre for Philanthropy examines the scope and nature of giving in Pakistan. Inspired by the methodology of the CAF World Giving Index, the study looks at different aspects of giving behavior, whether people are giving to charity and to whom they gave, their motivations for giving and the perceived impact of their contributions. Key findings include the need for charities and non-profit organizations to effectively communicate their work and their impact to win the trust of the public. Read it here.

Seema Aziz (Pakistan)
CARE Foundation

Published date: 30 September 2022

Seema Aziz is the co-founder and managing director of textile company Sefam. In 1988 she founded CARE Foundation to build schools and provide quality education to underprivileged children in Pakistan. From the first school built in 1991, CARE now oversees the education of 300,000 children in 888 schools across Pakistan thanks to its innovative Adopt a School program. CAPS spoke to Seema to find out what motivates her strong commitment to improving educational outcomes for Pakistan’s youth.


CAPS: Thank you for taking the time to speak with us today. Your story is a truly remarkable story, from starting a successful textile company to founding Pakistan’s largest educational NGO. Can you take us back to the beginning and share how you become involved with community development?

Seema: It started with the business. The first shop opened its doors in 1985. We worked really hard for a whole year: running around, fixing the quality of the fabric and dyes. We put together whatever little bits of money we had and put all of our energy into the business. Soon we built a reputation for our locally made, high-quality fabrics.

The belief that we, as humans, have a responsibility to others as part of civil society was always a part of our company’s values. In 1988 there was a terrible flood in Lahore and we realized we had to help the people affected. So we went out to deliver food and medicine.

After the water receded, many people had lost their homes and there were thousands camped out on the roads. And much more help was needed. Our first idea was to help people to rebuild homes. We thought we could do ten homes. We picked ten people at random from the hundreds who applied and gave them the money to rebuild. Then we repeated the process a few times and ended up building about 80 homes.


CAPS: How did that evolve into a focus on education?

Seema: I was particularly involved in one area that was hit badly: no electricity, no sewage system and no running water. As I was going around to check on people, hundreds of children would follow me. I asked some of the women there why they were following me and they replied, “What else should they do? There’s no school.” That really horrified me. I said to them, “What if I build a school?” They were all so excited. They told me to stop building the homes and to build the school.

My friends and family in the city told me I was totally mad, that the poor don’t want to educate their children. But when I looked at the people I was trying to help, I realized the only difference between them and me was an education. Thanks to my education I had so many opportunities. Those mothers wanted a better life for their children the same as any mothers do. If the opportunity does not exist, it’s not their fault, it’s the fault of society. I decided to build a school. We collected donations from friends and family and in 1991, we opened the doors. On the day of opening 250 children were standing outside. They had all lined up for a chance at a better life.


CAPS: Apart from the physical buildings, what else went into developing the schools?

Seema: Developing the curriculum was important. When I looked at what the government schools were teaching, I realized that it wasn’t enough. That’s why we introduced the English curriculum. And we also had to provide pencils and books and other necessary supplies for the children.

I didn’t want any child to ever grow up thinking that the support we were giving them was charity, because it wasn’t. It’s their right and our duty to ensure that they get that education. And so, they each paid ten rupees for their education, then everything else was free.

By the end of the first year, word had gotten around that ours was a school where education happens. The next year we had 450 children, then 850 the year after. We acquired some more land, so we built another school and then another. And the children worked so hard, they learned everything we taught them.


CAPS: How did the partnership with the government come about?

Seema: By 1998, I was realizing the sheer number of children in need. And in my heart, I knew that only government could provide education for all. No private organization could ever provide education for all, it needed government infrastructure. That same year, the government asked me to go and survey about 25 schools in Lahore. I was horrified: no running water, no toilets, no lights, no furniture, no teachers, and children sitting on broken floors in their neat little uniforms waiting for an education, which was never going to happen. I saw in my city of Lahore, which we think of as the cultural heart of Pakistan, schools with no roofs, schools with no door.

I told the government that we would partner with them to support ten schools. CARE would take on complete responsibility for the school’s operations and expenses (capital and running), including the infrastructural improvements, staff recruitment, training and salary. We adopted government schools that were not in good shape, and by the end of the year we turned them around. Enrolments doubled and then quadrupled.

CAPS: What have been the major challenges CARE has faced?

Seema: Originally when we took over the government schools, we said that we would stay for ten years. We would help train others, then slowly reduce the number of our people. But it hasn’t worked out like that. We still haven’t exited those schools because we know the moment we walk out, they’ll collapse. They keep asking us to take on more schools, but getting money from the government has also been difficult. So, I’ve committed a percentage of my company’s earnings to CARE.

Another challenge is the drop-out rate, especially among girls. There are many bright students who do not have the means to go to college. So, we set up a scholarship program that supports our students to go to some of the best colleges in the country.


CAPS: What keeps you motivated to keep CARE running despite these challenges?

Seema: We are totally committed to children graduating. Education is a great equalizer. It shouldn’t just be available to rich children. We need to even the playing field and create equal opportunities. We really believe in that, and we’ve done our best. I think that’s the main thing.


Asia’s social sector sees a funding decline

SME Horizon

COVID-19 has exacerbated income inequalities and social disparities across Asia, serving as a force multiplier for trends already in place. Assessing performance across four sub-indexes – Regulations, Tax and Fiscal Policy, Ecosystem, and Procurement – CAPS’ biennial flagship study, the Doing Good Index 2022, examines the social investment landscape in Asia. Read here.

In Conversation With Ruth Shapiro, Founder and Chief Executive of Centre for Asia Philanthropy and Society


According to the Doing Good Index 2022, which analyses the social investment landscape in Asia, Covid-19 has exacerbated social disparities and income inequalities and across the region. We talk to Dr. Ruth Shapiro, the Co-Founder and Chief Executive of the Centre for Asian Philanthropy and Society (CAPS), which conducts the study biennially, about the pandemic’s impact on people in Asia, her work and improving Hong Kong’s social sector. Read here.

Funding for Asian NGOs falls amid tighter regulations

Philanthropy Age

Almost half of Asia’s social delivery organisations have reported a decline in funding in the last 12 months, some as much as 50 percent, according to new research. The Hong Kong-based Centre for Asian Philanthropy and Society (CAPS) surveyed more than 2,000 entities and some 120 experts across 17 Asian economies, including India, Pakistan, China, and Singapore. Read here.

The Doing Good Index Reveals Asia’s Social Sector Sees a Funding Decline Despite Having the Highest Pandemic-Induced Poverty Globally

Yahoo Finance

Covid-19 has exacerbated income inequalities and social disparities across Asia, serving as a force multiplier for trends already in place. A new social impact study released today by the Centre for Asian Philanthropy and Society (CAPS) shows how to maximize philanthropic and policy responses to cope with these post-Covid challenges. Read here.

Doing Good Index 2022

Assessing the Health and Well-being of Asia’s Social Sector

Doing Good Index microsite

Our interactive microsite lets you visualize, explore and compare our data. Use our graphics and maps to help you understand Asia at a glance. The data dashboard allows you to compare economies and track changes across time. Economy profiles present a visual and digestible deep dive into each economy.

What is the Doing Good Index?

The Doing Good Index 2022 is the most comprehensive social impact index in Asia to date, highlighting the factors that drive or hinder private capital flowing towards social and economic challenges across 17 Asian economies.

The Doing Good Index comes at a critical time when economies have been heavily impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic. Inequalities have been exacerbated, and hard-won progress in social and economic growth has been undone. An estimated two-thirds of those newly forced into poverty live in South Asia, East Asia and the Pacific.

To address these shared challenges, all parts of society—individuals, companies, government and the social sector—must work together to drive more resources towards building a better future together. The Doing Good Index shows how. It provides a roadmap of the policies and practices that can unleash this capital by mitigating the trust deficit; leveraging local support; and facilitating cross-sector collaboration.

In 2022 we surveyed 2,239 SDOs and interviewed 126 experts across 17 Asian economies. In mapping the landscape of social investment, the study examines four sub-indices: Regulations, Tax and Fiscal Policy, Ecosystem, and Procurement. We also include a section on how the Covid-19 pandemic impacted the social sector.

The Doing Good Index is published every two years. Read the inaugural edition from 2018 and our 2020 edition.

Civil Society Organization Sustainability Index: Asia

United States Agency for International Development (USAID), FHI 360 & the International Center for Non-For-Profit Law (ICNL)

This annual index analyzes the capacity of civil society organizations in nine countries across Asia: Bangladesh, Cambodia, Indonesia, Nepal, Myanmar, Pakistan, Philippines, Sri Lanka and Thailand. It assesses civil society’s capacity to serve both as a partner in the delivery of short-term solutions and in driving longer-term sustainable development outcomes.

2021 edition

2020 edition

2019 edition

2018 edition

Public-Private Partnerships for Social Good

Rethinking PPPs

There is a growing trend in Asia of governments and the private sector coming together to address social needs, and our latest study spotlights these “public-private partnerships for social good.” With 88% of top business leaders in Asia believing such partnerships will become even more common over the next five years, it is more important than ever to understand what they are and how they work.

We conducted an in-depth analysis of 20 notable PPPs for social good spanning 11 Asian economies and 9 sectors to find out. Our report showcases why this trend is taking root, what best-in-class PPPs for social good look like, and how they maximize impact.

The report sets out 6 strategies that enable public-private partnerships for social good to achieve greater impact, how they can prepare for sustainability, and how they can navigate risks.