Back to the Vil­lage

Inir Pin­heiro 31 OWNER Grass­routes Jour­neys, Mum­bai

India Today - - THE IDEAS FACTORY - By Prachi Rege

He wants shin­ing In­dia to get a feel of how things work in the lights-out coun­try­side. Inir Pin­heiro owns Grass­routes Jour­neys, a tourism com­pany that func­tions as a tour op­er­a­tor and gives ur­ban In­di­ans an op­por­tu­nity to ex­pe­ri­ence life in vil­lages. Pin­heiro and his team of seven peo­ple or­gan­ise what they call ‘ex­pe­ri­en­tial’ trips to three Ma­ha­rash­tra vil­lages: Pu­rush­wadi, Val­vanda and De­hena. These are mar­ginal farm­ing ar­eas where most fam­i­lies are land­less and don’t have a steady in­come. A two day-one night stay at a vil­lage of your choice costs any­where be­tween Rs 1,900 to Rs 2,500. Mod­ern san­i­ta­tion fa­cil­i­ties have been put in place in all the vil­lages; sleep­ing bags are pro­vided to the tourists. Pin­heiro, who com­pleted his man­age­ment de­gree in 2006 from Xavier In­sti­tute of Man­age­ment, Bhubaneswar, has in­vested Rs 35 lakh in the ven­ture. Grass­routes Jour­neys hopes to break even in 2012-13.

Grass­routes Jour­neys is a great idea for cre­at­ing sus­tain­able em­ploy­ment.”

Ritu verma, Part­ner, Ankur cap­i­tal, a so­cial in­vest­ment seed fund

Ru­ral Con­nect

For some­one who didn’t know any other lan­guage be­sides English, con­nect­ing with trib­als in the coun­try­side was a huge hur­dle. What be­gan as a vil­lage tour in­volv­ing five Pu­rush­wadi fam­i­lies has now ex­panded to 80 fam­i­lies in that vil­lage.

Ex­pand Foot­print

Grass­routes Jour­neys aims to or­gan­ise tours to 200 vil­lages across In­dia in the next five years, cre­at­ing one mil­lion jobs.

MAN­DAR DEOD­HAR/ www.in­di­a­to­day­im­ages.com

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