On offer here are walking tours and bed & breakfast accommodation run by former street children. Let the young beneficiaries of our well-reputed local partner NGO, Salaam Baalak Trust, guide you through the hidden alleys and markets of Old Delhi. Or let them be your hosts stay in our new bed & breakfast, which offers a taste of the comforts of plush south Delhi but firmly in the centre of the city and in the real world. See, hear, taste and smell the vibrant as well as the more challenging side of Delhi’s narrow streets through the eyes of our young staff who know them better than anyone.
Our walking tours of Old Delhi have been running since 2012 and are featured in the Guardian’s ‘Top 10 Things to do in Delhi’. New for 2014-15 is a sister operation, “Diya Bed & Breakfast”. Both offer different perspectives on the capital’s usual options for tours and accommodation. Perspectives that provide the ethical or socially conscious traveller with a more rewarding experience; personal memories to take away and at the same time a chance to give back.
Our Walking tour:
- Takes you through the narrow alleys in the heart of Old Delhi that you could not find by yourself
- Offers tranquil temples, crumbling mansions, rooftop views, rickshaw rides, chai, the colourful wedding market and the unforgettable assault on all the senses that is Asia’s biggest spice market
- Ends with a visit to the largest boys’ shelter run by Salaam Baalak Trust (SBT)
Our bed & breakfast:
- Gives you the homestay feel (kitchen, lounge, shelves of books) and a beautiful private roof terrace, for the same or lower cost than one of the nearby hotels
- Has been planned and designed with sustainability at its heart
- Allows guests to mix with SBT volunteers as well as beneficiaries
- Offers all kinds of local assistance, from buying a SIM card to choosing the right season for fruit; from booking rail tickets to visiting places off the beaten track in this city that offers so much but makes it hard to find some of the best corners
Street Connections was founded by people who have been involved with Salaam Baalak Trust, a well-reputed Indian NGO for street and working children in Delhi. We are essentially non-profit in that any proceeds will be reinvested by employing SBT beneficiaries, i.e. former street children, in our programmes. We currently offer a 3-hour walk in Old Delhi and are currently (Oct 2015) opening a bed & breakfast place which will be, we believe, Delhi’s only socially and environmentally conscious accommodation.
The founder, Nick Thompson, has spent 4 months a year with SBT on a voluntary basis since 2008, is a Trustee and co-founder of Friends of SBT in the UK and has also been a long-standing supporter of environmental organisations and Survival International.
We are able to offer a 10% discount to Tourism Concern Members
Our Old Delhi tour is led by former street children from Salaam Baalak Trust, and our new sister operation, a bed & breakfast, also employs SBT beneficiaries including at managerial level. The aim is that the employment should build capacity and increase the employees’ career prospects; everyone is invited to contribute to the best of their abilities and is treated with equal respect.
We highlight to guests some of the social issues they see – not just about street children per se, but child labour and migrant workers’ rights. At the same time we show some of the decaying old buildings in the old city and we have had discussions with property owners and INTACH about how visitors might contribute to their protection.
All visitor spending is retained in the local area. We are a small company employing only local people, buying local produce and our company itself was born out of a long partnership with a local NGO. As we grow in size we aim to meet the third criteria too.
Although our main NGO partner is Salaam Baalak Trust, our second partnership is with Swechha. Swechha works on both social and environmental issues (starting with raising awareness of the state of the Yamuna in Delhi). One of the company’s earliest projects enabled the creation of an ‘urban mini forest’ on the outskirts of Delhi.
We aim that the B&B, when fully operational in early 2015, will have the following: solar panels, waste separation, minimising use of plastic. We will also encourage guests to contribute to future tree planting projects.
In the development of the B&B we have sourced local materials and supplies.