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Sébastien Marot

Sebastian Marot studied at the Institut d'Etudes Politiques de Paris and worked with the French Foreign Affairs in Japan and in marketing for l'Oreal, before being inspired to work with marginalized children. During his travels through Cambodia in 1994, he launched the award-winning Mith Samlanh project in Phnom Penh to address the many issues faced by marginalized children and youth. From Phnom Penh, he developed the internationally acclaimed social enterprise Friends-International, to provide protection, support and care for marginalized children, youth and their families around the world. As a leading social enterprise, Friends-International uses business models and alliances to tackle system change.

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Hybrid Social Enterprise
Education; Entrepreneurship; Social Innovation
Areas of Impact
ASEAN, Europe, Europe, Latin America, Latin America, United Kingdom, Viet Nam, Switzerland, Sweden, Thailand, Cambodia, Egypt, France, Malaysia, Myanmar, Lesotho, Lao PDR, Philippines, Indonesia


Friends-International (FI) believes that everyone must come together to build a safer and fairer world for children. To achieve this, FI creates innovative social and business models. Friends Alliance is an alliance of programmes to support 45,000 marginalized children, youths and their families every year to become functional, productive citizens. Through Saving Lives, its outreach teams go out day and night where the children are – on the streets, in the slums, in the drug dens, in prison, in brothels – to provide live-saving services, including protection from sexual abuse and violence, medical care, drug services, protection from trafficking and unsafe migration, protection from unnecessary internment. FI provides them with support to move away from that life.

Its Building Futures programme helps youths get gainful and dignified employment through employment offices that assess young people, provide soft skills training, direct them to vocational training, and provide psycho-social support. Then FI helps them find employment or start their own business and supports them until they are autonomous. Through the ChildSafe Alliance, FI aims to improve social services offered to children, youths and their families by linking with other organizations in a formal partnership that aims to build common capacity, replicating successful initiatives, coordinating efforts and bringing a stronger voice to government for policy change.

FI’s ChildSafe Movement aims to solidify the child protection presence everywhere by working with key actors involve them, inform them through general and targeted campaigns, train them and certify them in being child safe. The idea is for companies, individuals and groups to recognize children at risk and to be empowered to take action. ChildSafe Movement involves citizens, travellers, volunteers, businesses, schools and universities, and public authorities.


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