Friends-International

Country : Cambodia, Laos, Thailand
Type : Economic Development, Education & Vocational Training, Health & Sanitation, Community Development

Friends-International (FI) is a social enterprise with its head office based in Cambodia with representatives in Southeast Asia, North Africa, Europe and the Americas, working since 1994 to protect marginalised urban children and youth, reintegrate them into society.

What do they do?

FI works with street children and youth, as well as with their parents, helping them obtain a sustainable income so they do not need to work on the streets and can instead go to school, becoming independent and productive members of society. With this mission, they developed the ChildSafe Network -designed to sensitise and involve members of the community including businesses people and travellers in protecting urban children and youth from all forms of abuse. This is also supported through four main programmes:

– Social and health assistance; to provide children with safe lodging, family environment, life skills and educational services.

– Education; mostly non-formal, addressing literacy, numeracy, science, etc.

– Vocational training; for youth between 15-24 years old in areas such as motor mechanics, beauty, welding, electrical training, tailoring, laundry and hospitality; and for their parents, mainly on making handicrafts.

– Job facilitation; by integrating youth and their families into the labour market through their work at FI’s shops and training restaurants.

EXO foundation support

We whole heartedly supports FI and partners in the campaign to stop orphanage & school visits. Exo Travel was the first tour operator to officially ban these from their tours. Exo is part of the ChildSafe network with staff having attended ChildSafe training since 2012 and in 2016 EXO Travel under the  Sustainability Program coordinated by the Foundation was teh first company worldwide to become ChildSafe certified.

We use Friends services such as the tailor production to create our EXO Foundation tee shirts. We promote their shops and restaurants as responsible outlets to our travel partners.

We reproduce the  ChildSafe TIPS in the booklet ‘Tips for responsible Travelers ‘ that EXO distributes to travelers since 2013.

In 2017 we made a $5,000 donation to their ChildSafe Program for Thailand and Cambodia.

How can you help?

Buy your gifts, clothing or accessories at FI’s shops. Friends ‘n’ Stuff or Tooit Tooit offer a variety of beautiful, funky and unique products made by beneficiaries from various Friends projects, out of local and recycled materials.

Relax with a massage and get a manicure or pedicure at The Nailbar, where beauty students practice the skill of nail art.

Enjoy a delicious meal at one of Friends’ restaurants where students are trained in the hospitality sector.

Your donation directly benefits their needs:

US$ 35          School reintegration material for 1 child.

US$ 40         1 month of hygiene supplies for students of the vocational training center.

US$ 45          Medical care and supplies for 1 child.

US$ 135       1 month of non-formal education materials.

US$ 250       1 month salary for 1 skill training teacher in the vocational training center.

US$ 1 200    1 month provision of healthy lunch during school hours for all children.

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