Friends-International Switzerland (FIS), which opened in Geneva in 2014, is the European office of award-winning social enterprise Friends-International.

FIS promotes the ChildSafe Movement in Europe, a global initiative aiming at protecting children against all forms of abuse by involving society as a whole: citizens and tourists, schools, companies, and NGOs.

OUR WORK

Every year, millions of tourists travel to Asia. Once there, they are touched by the difficult living conditions of children from the local communities and they want to help. Despite their good intentions, their behaviours can often have a negative impact upon those children’s lives. Visiting orphanages or schools, visiting slums, giving money or food to begging children, these are all behaviours which keep children in poverty or even in abusive situations.

To learn more, discover the ChildSafe campaign:

Children are not tourist attractions
Don’t Create More Orphans

The ChildSafe Movement created the 7 Tips for Travelers, a useful tool allowing tourists to adopt responsible behaviors and effectively help protect children.

TOURISM

  • We raise awareness among tourists, voluntourists and volunteers about child protection issues and we give them the tools to adopt responsible behaviours during their trip.
  • We develop partnerships with travel agencies, airports, travel guides, hotels, and many other stakeholders so that they promote the 7 Tips for Travellers to their customers.
  • We advocate within the travel industry so that stakeholders will not offer products violating children’s rights, such as orphanage tourism, to their costumers.

EDUCATION

  • We allow youth to become actors of change by providing them with the necessary tools to engage in responsible and ethical volunteering
  • We raise awareness of students in schools and high schools, as well as in private schools. We propose interactive and educational sessions to teachers in order to stimulate students’ critical thinking in the area of development aid and volunteering.
  • As a member of the Better Volunteering, Better Care initiative, we advocate internationally to promote responsible alternatives to orphanage volunteering.

 

Want to learn more about our work within the tourism industry or with schools? Don’t hesitate to contact us by email at info@friends-international.ch.

 

QUICK FACTS

In 2017:

  • 208 students attended in-depth presentations on ethical volunteering and tourism
  • More than 4 million people were reached by ChildSafe campaigns through media coverage
  • 150 professionals from the tourism industry were made aware of child protection issues

Donate to Friends-International Switzerland:

Friends-International Suisse is a non-profit organisation of public utility. Your donations are therefore tax-deductible.

Bank: Crédit Suisse
Beneficiary:  Association Friends-International Suisse
IBAN:  CH78 0483 5146 4146 7100 0

OUR TEAM

 

The core team

Director : Emmanuelle Werner

Emmanuelle worked in the child protection field in Guatemala, she was part of the team that founded Human Rights Watch in Geneva and led a program aiming at preventing child abandonment and at developing advocacy campaigns raising awareness towards tourists about orphanage tourism for Friends-International in Cambodia. Emmanuelle published her first book, Au-delà des Cerfs-Volants, a reflection on her 3 years spent in Beijing.

Project manager: Amanda Senger

Amanda studied human sciences and international development and has a strong interest for responsible tourism through her research. She is happy to be able to contribute to the protection of children from Geneva by promoting the ChildSafe Movement in Europe. Always seeking new experiences, Amanda spent 3 months in Namibia and is delighted to discover the wonders of Asia.

 

The committee

Michel Regueiro (President)

Michel is a serial entrepreneur. He has launched and developed several service companies and web applications. Michel is the co-founder and CEO of d’Aspediens Holding SA, a European IT consultancy firm. Interested by the innovative social entrepreneurship model of the organization, he joined the Friends-International Switzerland Board in 2013.

Fabien Gillioz (Secretary)

Lawyer and partner at Ochsner & Associés, Fabien graduated from Boston University with a Master of Laws (LL.M.) and he specializes in international corporate and commercial law. He is a member of the Commission de Formation Permanente de l’ordre des avocats. Passionate about cinema, Fabien also co-founded a collective making short films.

Christophe Barman (Treasurer)

Christophe is one of the co-founders of Loyco, a precursory business model in the area of administrative support for organizations, that he has led since its launch in 2013. A sports aficionado, Christophe is involved in many sporting organizations such as Geneva SnowSports, Ski Romand and Fonds du sport Genève. He is also president of the sustainable development IDDEA prize.

Huda Bakhet Dawance

A member of the  AMIC association (Intercultural Mediators Association) that offers support to minor asylum-seekers in Geneva, Huda founded the project ‘A ma place’, a video featuring behind the scenes footage of unaccompanied minor asylum-seekers in Geneva. Huda worked for Zurich Assurance Group in their government relations department as well as for the European Commission in development aid for African States.

Sébastien Marot

Sébastien is the founder and Executive Director of Friends-International. After having worked for the Department of Foreign Affairs of the French government and for L’Oreal, Sebastien started working with marginalized children when travelling across Cambodia in 1994. He thus founded and developed Friends-International, an award-winning social enterprise internationally recognized and lauded for its innovative and creative approach.