In the mountainous state of Uttarakhand, SEWA has been serving over 25000 women in the informal economy. Most of these women are farmers and agricultural workers. But in recent years, climate change and human-wildlife conflict have made it difficult for them to depend upon agriculture alone for livelihood.
“What else can we do?”, was a constant question at the SHG and mohalla meetings.
Soon an idea emerged to diversify their source of income and showcase the richness of their local culture as well. Nestled in the lap of the Himalayas amidst rich Pahadi culture, presented a potential for piloting rural homestays in the region.
Thus, our pahadi bens opened up their homes through SEWA Atithi, with a mission of promoting responsible tourism complete with authentic experiences of the mountain life. These homestays present a chance for guests to escape the hustle and bustle of city life, venture into undiscovered villages, immerse oneself into the vibrant tapestry of Pahadi traditions, savor local cuisine and leave with lasting memories of traveling through Uttarakhand like never before. Especially solo women travelers have found a safe space with our homestay hosts.
Today SEWA Atithi has nine fully operational homestays in the districts of Almora and Rudraprayag certified by the Uttarakhand tourism department.
“What else can we do?” was finally answered by the strength of innovation and collectivisation.