Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - James Ricketson fundraises for poor

James Ricketson fundraises for poor

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Ricketson has supported Cambodian families both emotionally and financially for many years and plans to continue doing so. Photo supplied

James Ricketson fundraises for poor

Australian filmmaker James Ricketson, 69, aims to raise an initial $50,000 for a housing project in Cambodia, despite his conviction on espionage charges and deportation following a royal pardon.

Ricketson said after his release from prison in September that he started helping poor Cambodian scavengers many years ago and will resume again. He and three others started a fund-raising website “Family By Family”, hoping to initially raise $50,000.

He said before his arrest that he helped many families living at dump sites – some of whom had successfully moved away from their scavenging ways.

Ricketson’s daughter Roxanne Holmes – also a team member of the Family By Family project – said they were attempting to raise $50,000 for the families.

“I have been helping poor Cambodian families for 22 years because I love Cambodia and the Cambodian people, especially the poor. They deserve a chance to make a better life for themselves, and especially the children,” Ricketson said on Monday.

Ricketson was sentenced to six years in prison in August on espionage charges and spent 15 months incarcerated before being granted a royal pardon in September.

‘Lovers’ quarrel’

“My time in jail has not affected my love for Cambodia. I think of it as a lovers’ quarrel. Some people in the government think I hate Cambodia. They are wrong . . . I love Cambodia,” he said.

Among the families supported by Ricketson was that of 26-year-old scavenger Nov Sreypich. Ricketson said he spent $7,000 to enable her parents to return to their home in Prey Veng province.

Sreypich said on Monday that she and other scavenger families at the Choeung Ek dumpsite had known Ricketson for seven years – 17 families had received his support.

“He helped buy property for them and [enabled them] to go back to live in their villages. He gave rice and money, and if the families wanted to return home to the provinces, he helped them,” Sreypich said, citing her parents as an example.

She said she wants to see scavenger children attend school.

Ricketson was deported after receiving the royal pardon. According to Cambodian law, he is permanently banned from returning to the Kingdom.

But he said on Monday that he was optimistic about his return and humanitarian work.

“I have not been banned from visiting Cambodia. If the government wants to stop me from doing humanitarian work in Cambodia, that is its decision. I will continue to help poor Cambodian families even if the government will not allow me to visit,” he said.

To learn more about Ricketson’s Family By Family project, please visit https://www.familybyfamily.org/about-1.

To make a donation and help fund it, kindly visit https://www.gofundme.com/family-by-family.

MOST VIEWED

  • Angkor lifetime pass, special Siem Reap travel offers planned

    The Ministry of Tourism plans to introduce a convenient, single lifetime pass for foreign travellers to visit Angkor Archaeological Park and potentially other areas. The move is designed to stimulate tourism to the culturally rich province of Siem Reap as the start of the “Visit

  • Ice cream, noodles flagged over carcinogen

    The General Department of Customs and Excise of Cambodia (GDCE) has identified three types of instant noodles and ice cream trademarks originating from Thailand, Vietnam and France that are suspected to contain ethylene oxide, which poses a cancer risk to consumers. The general department has

  • Exclusive interview with Josep Borrell Fontelles, High Representative of the EU

    CAMBODIA is hosting the 55th ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (AMM) and Related Meetings this week with top officials from the US, China, and Russia and other countries in the region slated to attend and to meet with face-to-face with their counterparts on the sidelines. In

  • Rise in Thai air routes to Siem Reap fuels travel hopes

    Local tourism industry players are eager for regional airline Bangkok Airways Pcl’s resumption of direct flight services between the Thai capital and Siem Reap town on August 1 – home of Cambodia’s awe-inspiring Angkor Archaeological Park – which is expected to boost the growth rate of

  • ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ meet commences, Taiwan issue possibly on table

    The 55th ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (AMM) and related meetings hosted by Cambodia kicks off in Phnom Penh on August 3, with progress, challenges, and the way forward for the ASEAN Community-building on the table. Issues on Taiwan, sparked by the visit of US House Speaker

  • Recap of this year’s ASEAN FM meet and look ahead

    This year’s edition of the ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (AMM) hosted by Cambodia comes against the backdrop of heightened global tensions and increasing rivalry between major powers that have been compared to the animosity of the Cold War era. The following is The Post’