top of page

the project

keeping the dream alive

During the 15 month campaign to free documentary journalist James Ricketson from the notorious Prey Sar prison in Cambodia, James kept his mental strength together by holding tightly to his dream of helping the families who are waste pickers and recycling collectors who spend their lives scavenging on and living alongside one of Phnom Penh's infamous rubbish dumps, Choeung Ek. 

From his letters home during these dark and awful days, from one of the most overcrowded and harsh prisons in the world, Family by Family was developed as a partnership between James and us, to assist these materially impoverished Cambodian families with accessible education, homes, and businesses.


Over 23  years whilst filming these families, James grew to love these people who scavenge for a living on Choeung Ek rubbish tip and who are amongst the poorest people on earth. Although materially destitute, these families are rich in human warmth and generosity of spirit.  


Every family has different needs but the overriding ones are a safe place to bring up their children near good schools. These families who missed out on an education themselves are highly aware that education is the only hope for any kind of future for their children. Many of these families gravitate to the dumps in the cities for one main reason, and that is because they are accessible to schools.


Family by Family is literally families like yours helping families who struggle without the means to possibly lift themselves out of the poverty cycle. We do not want to perpetuate dependency, we want to build futures.  It’s simple in principle. Together we can provide the capital to build our sustainable cooperative housing and farming project and support these families not only into safe housing, as that by itself offers no real and lasting solution, but to build their capacity to earn an income. 

James has been told that he cannot return to Cambodia. Although he is heartbroken about this, it has made him more determined than ever to fulfill his dream for these families. Family by Family will form a partnership alongside some of the more reputable charities in Cambodia whose work revolves around keeping families intact rather than the separation of children with the promise of taking care of, and educating them.


Open your hearts and help us to help these families achieve their dreams. Small amounts soon accumulate and in a country like Cambodia, a small amount can achieve a lot.


Look through our site and you too will fall for these beautiful families.


Warmest wishes 

James Ricketson and the freejames crew. 


Follow us on facebook


bottom of page