Rick Collins

This photograph of an Afghan girl in an outdoor classroom is part of Face to Face: The Afghan Children’s Relief Fund started by photographer Rick Collins.

After 9/11, U.S. President George W. Bush called for public support of families of firefighters and police killed in the terrorist attacks. Rick wondered who else was affected and how he might help them.

He started the Face to Face project and promised to personally deliver any monies raised in his community of Chilliwack, B.C., to Afghan refugees living in camps in western Pakistan. In sixty days, $90,000 was raised, and Rick travelled to Pakistan in January 2002. He found the most impoverished families and used the money to buy desperately needed goods.

Before leaving Canada, Rick photographed children of all ages, and once he arrived in western Pakistan, he photographed Afghan children. He then got the children in each country to hold photographs of each other. Finally, he held gallery shows and information events at churches and community centres to share the photos and the story.

He literally brought the faces of children in very different circumstances “face to face.”

“The overwhelming response was that we here in the West know very little about the world at large and the people who live outside our borders. This project was an important link,” says Rick.

Rick Collins is a documentary photographer living near Vancouver, British Columbia with his wife, Cheryl, and two boys Ethan and Cassius.