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Friends-International Receives Internationally Recognized Award from the Skoll Foundation

By: Expat Advisory Posted: January-01-2006 in
Expat Advisory

Friends-International has just been presented with the prestigious Skoll Foundation Award for Social Entrepreneurship at a ceremony in Oxford. The award comes with a three-year, $1,015,000 funding grant which will allow Friends- International to strengthen and extend its services to provide direct quality services to at least 500,000 more street children by reinforcing and expanding its projects in Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand, Indonesia and Honduras, as well as developing new projects in Vietnam, Yunnan (China), Malaysia, Mexico and countries in the Caribbean and Africa.

The award is one of 10 Skoll Awards for Social Entrepreneurship presented by the Skoll Foundation to honor the most innovative and effective approaches to resolving critical social issues. Friends-International joins a prestigious group of Skoll entrepreneurs who are working around the world on issues such as tolerance and human rights, health, environmental sustainability, peace and security, institutional responsibility, and economic and social equity.

Friends-International believes that it is possible to build a world where no child or young person has to live or work on the streets. Since 1994, Friends-International has been actively working towards this, by developing two major projects, The Street Children Network and ChildSafe. The Street Children Network is an international network that provides the highest standard of direct services targeting street children and youth, their families and their community.

The ChildSafe project reinforces the work of The Street Children Network by involving the entire society in protecting the vulnerable urban children and youth from all forms of abuse.

"Sebastien Marot, International Coordinator of Friends-International, is a tremendous addition to the community of Skoll entrepreneurs and someone who has demonstrated those key characteristics of a successful social entrepreneur: inspiration, creativity, direct action, courage and fortitude," said Sally Osberg, President and CEO of the Skoll Foundation. "Like all the organizations in our portfolio, Friends-International is tackling a complex social problem with a sustainable, scalable solution and we're honored to support their continued commitment to systemic change at the grassroots level."

Sebastien was presented with the award at a special ceremony on March 28 at the Skoll World Forum on Social Entrepreneurship at Oxford University. Sebastien also participated in the three-day World Forum along with over 600 attendees from the social entrepreneurship community. Friends-International has grown from Sebastien's original project 'Mith Samlanh' (Friends in Cambodian) which he started in Cambodia's capital, Phnom Penh in 1994. Mith Samlanh is now a local NGO run completely by Cambodian staff and is a best practice model for other street children projects.

"Street children are the thermometer of the economic and social situation of a country. Friends-International strives to support and empower street children, and in the long term, to diminish the risks to children, with the help of key sectors in the communities. We believe that this approach can move the work with street children and vulnerable populations away from charity and towards real development that will benefit societies at large." Sebastien explained.


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