Have you ever dreamt of backpacking across the country and exploring the magnificent and mysterious places in the many corners of India?
Even as you think about an adventurous journey with your friends or travelling solo, you automatically list out the places you want to explore, what kind of accommodation you will book, the modes of transport you will choose etc.
And if you are a woman, you will have an additional question lingering in your mind—will I be safe?
To reassure women who like to travel, and to ensure that they have a safe vacation, Rashmi Chaddha has launched Wovoyage, a travel company which arranges for safe tours, primarily focusing on women travellers.
The idea for Wovoyage had formed years ago when Rashmi was a high-school student and a sportsperson who travelled to various parts of the country for tournaments.
“As a self-driven person I always thought about travelling alone, and the issues concerning solo women travellers haunted me,” Rashmi told The Better India.
“As I grew and travelled more often, Wovoyage started taking shape, and I decided that as an Indian and a woman who loves to travel, this is the problem I wanted to focus on and solve, with women being my core focus.”
And so began the process of working on this idea. Rashmi studied social entrepreneurship, shaping her business model as she learned from her course.
Today, Wovoyage, which is based in Delhi, has managed the tours of women not only from India but also from UK, Japan, USA, France etc.
The company is actively arranging tours in India as well as Tokyo, Japan.
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Rashmi’s dream of arranging safe tours for women goes beyond just a temporary arrangement. “The dream is to develop India as a hub for tourism and a haven for women travellers—with ease of travel in all budgets,” Rashmi told TBI. “This will thus generate employment for people associated with travel and sanitise them with the principles of being a good host (Atithi Devo Bhava). We are working on empowering women by involving them as team leaders.”
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Rashmi works to provide lifelong memories to women, using travel as a medium. She recalls how a mother had written to them, asking to take care of her daughter who was travelling to India for the first time. The daughter had cold feet due to the cultural shock she had due to the “incredible mess and maze [that] this country is.”
Wovoyage helped the young woman navigate through India, arranging for her safe accommodation and travel that would have otherwise been very tough for the foreign traveller.
Rashmi has won many awards for her incredible work to ensure safe travel while also creating empowerment opportunities for local women, and plans to keep the pace of development steady for the days to come.
“We aim at providing a more consciousness-raising, stimulating travel experience to any woman traveller, for their voyage in India,” Rashmi says.