Sebastien Marot was on a trip to Cambodia that was scheduled to last for a few months. But after seeing abandoned children asleep outside a Phnom Penh resturant, he decided to stay on their behalf. Beginning with the understanding that the handouts the beggars were recieiving only perpetuated their "street child" status, Marot started Friends-International in 1994 to provide holistic services to these children that would help them reintegrate into society and learn how to become productive, independent citizens. The model works to incorporate the families and communities surrounding these children so as to create a safe place for each child to grow and learn. Marot also established the ChildSafe campaign that asks a larger community base as well as businesses to take an active role in protecting children. Under Marot's direction, Friends-International embarked on a larger campaign that copies the original model used in Cambodia to be implemented in other countries. It has now been established in Laos, Thailand, Indonesia, Honduras, Mexico, Egypt, and Myanmar. Friends-International received the Skoll Foundation's Social Entrepreneur Award in 2007, and The Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship called Marot the East Asia Social Entrepreneur of the Year in 2009. The marginalized youth couldn't stand up for their rights, and they couldn't create a future for themselves. They needed an advocate, a voice, and Sebastien Marot has spoken on behalf of over 500,000 children, giving them the opportunities that would have otherwise remained always out of reach.
"Leaving from a restaurant at 10:00pm when it was pitch black, I could still see twenty-something children sleeping on cardboards. Just then a Mercedes drove by. It made me angry and frustrated to see children being wasted. That's when I knew I was going to work for the children."