Our 6 favourite social enterprises that empower women

September 25, 2019
Anula Galewska

This is a short write-up on the Women in Travel event we hosted in November 2018 in London.

At Urban Adventures we actively promote and support female leaders. We also believe in tourism social entrepreneurship as one of the most effective ways of making a positive and long-lasting impact in our destinations. Imagine, how much good is being achieved when we combine both! 🙂  As part of our In Focus Program, Urban Adventures partners with several social enterprises that empower women and/ or are run by female social entrepreneurs.

To further promote organisations we partner with and also to raise awareness about the need for effective solutions to women’s empowerment, we hosted an event called  “Let’s talk: Women’s empowerment through tourism social entrepreneurship”. The event took place in November 2018 in our London’s office and gathered a great bunch of like-minded social entrepreneurs and tourism professionals. Inspiring stories were shared along with the best of Syrian food, catered by the locally operated B Syrian Kitchen.

Here are our 6 favourite social enterprises we partner with that support the empowerment of women around the world:

1. Small Projects Istanbul, Istanbul, Turkey

Small Projects Istanbul's Muhra project produces fabulous jewellery that bears the inspiring slogan: "Drop earrings, not bombs." | Photo Credit: Small Projects Istanbul

Small Projects Istanbul is an independent NGO operating a community center which provides enrichment, integration and livelihood activities for Syrian and other displaced families rebuilding their lives in the city. One of the SPI’s initiatives is Muhra, a Syrian Women’s Social Enterprise. Muhra sells handmade pieces of jewellery and textile produced by female artisans rebuilding their lives in Istanbul. 

How can you help? Join The Olive Tree of Istanbul tour on your next visit to Turkey!

2. Seven Women, Kathmandu, Nepal

Seven Women supports women in Nepal to gain new skills and earn a living for themselves and their families. | Photo Credit: Kathmandu Urban Adventures

Seven Women is a social enterprise dedicated to empowering marginalised women in Nepal through education and employment. The organisation was founded by Stephanie Woollard, who began Seven Women at age 22 after meeting seven disabled women working in a tin shed in Kathmandu. These seven women were struggling to make a living in the face of harsh discrimination. With her last $200, Steph paid for trainers to teach the women how to produce products for sale locally and abroad – and Seven Women was born. Seven Women has helped over 5,000 marginalised women since its foundation in 2006. 

How can you help? Join Cook in Kathmandu or Handmade Kathmandu class on your next visit to Nepal!

3. Jaipur Rugs Foundation, Jaipur, India

The intricate art of rug weaving is being kept alive by the talented ladies from the Jaipur Rugs Foundation. | Photo Credit: Jaipur Rugs Foundation

Jaipur Rugs Foundation is an organisation that empowers women from the underserved areas developing their skills, capacity & providing them a sustainable livelihood. Jaipur Rugs Foundation reaches out to the grassroots populace and initiates a dialogue about opportunities of becoming skilled artisans in carpet value chain and get sustainable livelihoods as well as social development facilitation. JRF brought the world’s first social innovation with artisan community which addresses the creative potential of Indian artisan community. This innovation is one of the steps by foundation for creating awareness about sustainable yet creative.

How can you help? Join Rajasthan Artisan Village Tour with Lunch on your next visit to India!

4. Invisible Cities, Edinburgh, UK

One of the tour guides from Invisible Cities leads travellers around rainy Edinburgh. | Photo Credit: Invisible Cities

Invisible Cities is a social enterprise run by Zakia Moulaoui, a fabulous woman, who after years of  helping people in difficult situations on an international level, came to Ediburgh to apply her experience and make a positive impact locally. She has founded Invisible Cities to train people affected by homelessness to become walking tour guides of their own city and offer these alternative tours to tourists and locals.

Their training focuses on confidence building, public speaking and customer service. We partner with professional tour guides to build bespoke tours and practice our routes. Until now, they’ve trained 52 individuals.

Invisible Cities raises awareness about homelessness and through our tours, thei aim at changing perceptions and breaking down the stigma that exists around it. They also do this through innovative events, aimed at a wider or different audience.

How can you help? Join Sightseeing & Scones with a Local on your next visit to Edinburgh!


5. Al Alhidn Association, Casablanca, Morocco

Morocco Responsible tour
A lady from Al Alhidn serving up the best dinner you'll have in Casablanca, no contest! | Photo Credit: Casablanca Urban Adventures

Al Alhidn Association is a nonprofit organisation created for social and cultural development of women, family and childhood in Morocco. The organisation works towards economic and social empowerment of the woman and the youth through a number of projects, including cultural centers for youth, family mediation, special assistance to widows and orphan girls, who have stopped their studies and active advocacy for women and youth rights, nationally and internationally.

How can you help? Join Home-cooked Lunch with the Ladies of Al Alhidn on your next visit to Morocco!

6. GreenMeBerlin, Berlin, Germany

Our Green Delights of Berlin tour includes recommendations on where to get the best vegan food in the city. | Photo Credit: GreenMe Berlin

GreenMeBerlin was founded by Claudi Sult, a tourism professional and a business consultant, obsessed with sustainable travel and lifestyle. All GreenMeBerlin’s passion and energy goes into providing people with an inspiring, valuable and easy-to-use resource for eco-minded trends, locations and projects in Berlin (and beyond). By doing that, they want to inspire as many people as possible out there to try something new and explore Berlin through different eyes – realizing that we can all shake the world a little bit.

Giving eco-preneurs and green creators in Berlin a face (and a voice), they also want to encourage more local business owners, founders and entrepreneurs to follow – and to connect and grow with one another. GreenMe is a social business – they’re reinvesting their profits into supporting the local eco scene, as well as donating part of the money generated i.e. on our tours to a number of Berlin’s non-profits.

How can you help? Join Green Delights of Berlin on your next visit to Berlin!

The Women in Travel event was co-organised by Julia D’Orazio, a published travel writer, who shared her experience of visiting the Istanbul SPI centre as well as discussed her role in helping women in rural Tanzania transform their lives through social enterprise initiatives. 

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