and activities in Vienna and Graz on socially
SHADES TOURS organizes alternative tours and activities* in Vienna and Graz on socially polarizing topics.
The outstanding detail about it: they are guided by affected persons themselves and therefore provide a different perspective on the city.
They serve the social-political education of the participants as well as the (re-) integration of the guides into stable housing and the job market.
"Education is the most powerful weapon
which you can use to change the world."
What exactly is SHADES TOURS?
SHADES TOURS offers tours and activities on the topics of poverty & homelessness, refugees & integration and drugs & addiction. The outstanding thing about them: they are guided by affected people.
Because… well, who could explain the challenges and solutions of such a complex topic better then homeless persons, refugees or (former) addicted people themselves?
Those activities are presentations, tours and corporate volunteering activities.
Why? Because we believe there are too many stigmata and prejudices towards homeless people, refugees and addicts that hinder the (re-)integration into society.
SHADES TOURS is trying to close this gap, by educating society – while helping the guides to find their way back into a stable living condition.
If you have specific questions about the tours, check out our FAQs.
What are the positive effects of SHADES TOURS?
SHADES TOURS is a tool for the reintegration of our guides into society and into the labor market.
We focus on the strengths and knowledge of the guides. Instead of emphasizing what they can not do – we underline their knowledge and their skills by hiring them as an expert in their topic.
Through responsibility they get an opportunity to contribute positively to society. In a precarious living situation people are given a valuable job as a tour guide and a re-entry into the labor market.
Each participant of the SHADES TOURS gives the guides an income, motivation and self-confidence to walk the rough path out of their situation.
At the same time, participants get the opportunity to learn about a world that is mostly unseen.
SHADES TOURS sees it as its job to raise awareness for people in precarious living situations, to reduce prejudices and to explain the challenges and complexity of polarizing topics.
We often get feedback that participating in one of our activities has changed the way participants look at their own city and has given them a better understanding about the social nuances of life.
Additionally, the tour leads to a higher sense of empathy and gratitude and, ideally, even encourages participants to become more socially engaged.
"Where do you start re-building something,
if you have lost everything?"
How did the idea of SHADES TOURS come up?
SHADES TOURS was founded in autumn 2015 by Perrine Schober. After studying tourism management in Germany the 33-year-old Austrian studied tourism management. During her exchange semester in England, she specialized in the topic “Tourism as a tool for poverty alleviation”. She then worked for several international development organizations in support of Vietnam, Eastern Turkey, Belize and the Philippines, until she decided in April 2015 to start her own Social Venture – SHADES TOURS.
But how did it happen? Perrine slipped into an early midlife crisis wondering which job would best link her business prowess, tourism knowledge, and her passion for social reform. “I wanted to find the perfect job for me, where I could make use of my knowledge and my capabilities in an impactful way” explains Perrine.
In her research and ideas for a social tourism company, she then came across other guided tours of the homeless successfully running in different European cities such as Amsterdam, Barcelona, Berlin, Hamburg, Copenhagen, London, Prague and Utrecht. Since April 2015, Perrine has been working on SHADES TOURS and was nominated for the biggest Austrian Social Business Award by Coca-Cola “Get Active 2015” and the “Social Impact Start Award” of the Vienna Impact Hub in 2015.
Since then, the company has further developed its product portfolio and was awarded the Certificate of Excellence by TripAdvisor in 2018. After three years, SHADES TOURS has already welcomed more than 30,000 participants on its activities.
In August 2019, SHADES TOURS brought their tours to an additional destination, Graz.