Perrine Schober is the Founder of an innovative social startup SHADES TOURS, which stands for socio-political civil education and employment for homeless people.
The company organizes tours and activities with homeless people in Vienna, which empowers them with employment to escape homelessness. On the other hand, participants such as children, students, adults, companies and tourists gain insightful knowledge, which makes them strive for a change within society.
What inspired you to start helping homeless people through tourism activities?
I studied Tourism Management and specialized in the field of „tourism as tool for poverty alleviation“. After working for different companies and organizations, I wanted to use my knowledge wisely. After a phase of research, I found the concept of “Tours guided by homeless people” which was already established in cities such as Amsterdam, Prag, Barcelona and London. Soon after, I got in touch with the Viennese social institutions which endorsed me and the project idea.
What are the challenges SHADES TOURS is trying to address and impact you want to achieve?
SHADES TOURS strives for a (civil and labor-market) re-integration of homeless people. We offer employment to homeless people in order to strive out of homelessness. At the same time, we offer educational guided tours and activities on the topic, which enhances the awareness on the socio-political issues in Vienna and hence reduces prejudices.
What’s special about your approach?
The special thing about our company is that we transform the social weakness of being homeless into a strength. Our guides become teachers explaining the entire social system, it’s challenges and solutions and educate civil society.
What’s the most exciting thing you, your company, or your organisation has achieved so far?
So far 2 of our guides have made their way out of homelessness. At the same time we have cooked more that 1000 meals for homeless people and educated more that 450 participants, who said that their insightful SHADES TOURS experienced has changed their life.
What do you need to help you be more successful?
SHADES TOURS is based on education and employment. The only way to help us is to book a tour (English or German) with us. We organize them regularly and even on demand.
What does that success look like? Share your dream with us.
We would like to structure SHADES TOURS as a Social Tourism Franchise, so that future social entrepreneurs can benefit from our experience and implement SHADES TOURS in their respective cities.
If you could connect with one person, company or organisation working towards responsible tourism, who would it be, and why?
We would like to work with international Tour Operators who want to feature SHADES TOURS in their product portfolio in order to have more tourists participating in our tours. Eg. G-Adventures & Tour Radar.
This article is part of our “Interviews with Social Entrepreneurs” series. If you’d like to be featured on Travindy, get in touch!