About This Project

Steff Gruber


Railway Community

Over 300 families live in Phnom Penh’s “Kilometer 6” commune, which is located alongside railway tracks. The families live in self-built shacks, usually consisting of a single room. The people here – some of the poorest people in the city – often run small businesses, in the form of mini-kiosks, in their community. Because of the lack of space, the residents spread out over the train tracks during the day. Every time they hear the train horns, they quickly gather up their cooking utensils, chairs, sunshades and children to clear the track. Just seconds after the freight trains have passed, the railway track once again becomes the center of life. Like many Phnom Penh families before them, the Railway Community faces eviction. The reason why they are being threatened with displacement is that the Phnom Penh authorities are planning to build a 12-meter-wide concrete road and drainage system along the railway line. Ownership of the land has been disputed ever since. For a decade now, members of the community and activists have been campaigning for their right to land and adequate housing. Steff Gruber’s documentation of the lives of the Railway Community is part of an ongoing long-term project on the landless poor communities in Cambodia.



7th edition