Born in France, Sébastien Martot holds a degree in political science. Upon finishing his studies, he was posted to the French Consulate in Japan for two years. While in Asia, he decided to explore the continent in more depth, spending a year backpacking before returning to France to work for L'Oreal. Feeling the need for change, he returned to the Far East in 1994; this time his destination was Cambodia.
Upon his arrival in that Southeast Asian country, Sébastien Marot was shaken when he saw homeless children sleeping on the streets as luxury vehicles drove by. In Phnom Penh, accompanied by Barbara Adams and later by Mark Turgesen, he regularly brought food to the homeless children. The three travelling companions soon decided to open Friends, a shelter for disadvantaged Cambodian children that serves as a place for transition and reintegration into society.