REAL PEOPLE, REAL STORIES.

REAL PEOPLE, REAL STORIES.


Text by: Natalie Haas


Category: Social Innovation


Photos by: Shades Tours


"This is not a sightseeing tour - this is a tour about life." said a SHADES TOURS participant after this really moving experience.
There are too many stigmata and prejudices towards homeless people, refugees and addicts that hinder their (re-)integration into society. This is why SHADES TOURS was founded by Perrine Schober in autumn 2015 in Vienna in order to raise awareness for people in precarious living situations, to reduce prejudices and to explain the challenges and the complexities of polarising topics.
SHADES TOURS organises moving tours in two Austrian cities, Vienna and Graz, on the topics of poverty & homelessness, refugees & integration and addiction & drugs. The special thing about these tours? They are guided by homeless people, refugees and addicts themselves and thus give you not only a new perspective on the city but also a genuine learning experience. SHADES TOURS aims to provide its participants with an eye-opening experience that makes a difference for both the ones taking the tour, but also the guide!
These tours are a tool for reintegration of the guides both into society and into the labour market. Instead of emphasising what they cannot do, SHADES TOURS focuses on the strengths and knowledge of their guides and underlines their skills by hiring them as experts in their topics. The responsibility they get as tour guides provides them with an opportunity to contribute positively to society and provides them with a valuable job, an income, motivation and new, enhanced self-confidence.
At the same time, participants of the tours get the opportunity to learn and experience a world and circumstances that are mostly unseen and associated with a lot of stereotypes, stigma and prejudice.
The participants can gain a better understanding of the social nuances of life, have the opportunity to gain a higher sense of empathy and gratitude and ideally even become more socially engaged afterwards.
These alternative tours on socially polarising topics truly make a difference and offer new perspectives and opportunities, both for the participants and for the guides.