What we do
Actual Size is a grass roots not-for-profit 501(c)3 organization whose aim is to bring awareness to the actual size of global issues affecting the children of our world today. The objective is to raise funds to help educate, support and purchase essential life necessities for children that are directly affected by natural disasters, poverty and war throughout the world.
By raising funds through creative benefits, the sale of photography, video, and artwork, group members and volunteers will travel into the affected regions of the world and use the proceeds to help directly in the field, improving and rebuilding schools, providing educational supplies and materials, establishing scholarship funds and helping heal the communities with direct interaction.
The History and Inspiration Behind the Movement
Actual Size was inspired by two major events that touched the life of its founder, Suhail. After having read Greg Mortenson’s book, Three Cups of Tea, Suhail was inspired by Greg’s commitment to reducing poverty through educating young girls in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Suhail decided to pay a tribute to Greg’s work by visiting the Afghan mountain village of Korphe where the book was set and to document his experience through his photography.
In July 2007, Suhail traveled through Pakistan and headed north up to Afghanistan with an organization called CDRS whose primary focus was in Chikar. While there, Suhail was able to witness the terrible devastation that the earthquake of October 8th 2005 had caused. He was struck by how eager the children were to learn despite their lack of resources and the devastated infrastructure. He realized that the actual size of this catastrophe was much greater than he had originally thought and he recognized an imminent need in Chikar to create school projects for young children.
Since returning to the States in the fall of 2007, Suhail has organized events raising over $20,000 through the sale of his photography and through organizing creative benefits and fundraisers. Suhail returned again to Chikar in July of 2008 and used the money to build schools as well as supply existing schools with computers, science laboratory equipment, kitchen equipment, bedding, and other necessary supplies.
In addition, Suhail’s experiences have incited much interest with a number of Chicago schools. Suhail has created educational exchange programs and spends time informing young American students of the conditions of their Pakistani counterparts. In one such program called “Pennies for Pakistan”, the young students of St. Petronille Roman Catholic Church raised over $1100 for Actual Size and exchanged letters with students in Chikar.
Suhail hopes to go to Chikar and other affected areas of the world every summer with a group of volunteers and build schools for children while documenting his travels through his photography.
The collection of images you see in the Photography section of this site contains many of the photographs from his travels and the sale of the photography will benefit educational programs throughout the world.
With volunteers in the village of Chikar at a medical facility run by Todd Shea of Comprehensive Disaster Response Services.
Chatting to contractors in the Village of Chikar, building new homes after the devastating earthquake of October 2005.
Suhail and volunteer Faisal at a school in the village of Chikar.
Amjad reviews shots taken of the lake created by the earthquake of October 2005.
With the children of a refugee camp in Muzaffarabad.
Happy school children after delivery of a new water tank in the Azad Kashmir.