In many European cities, tourists can discover hidden streets and stories thanks to guides who have experienced homelessness.
In Berlin, Paris or London, there are tours similar to those of Invisible (Edinburgh) but the true inspiration behind our social enterprise is in Athens!
During one of her travels to the Greek capital, our founder Zakia Moulaoui met the team behind SHEDIA, Greece's only street paper. Distributed in the streets of Athens and Thessaloniki since February 2013, it is published every last Wednesday of the month. But as well as selling their magazines, vendors can also take you on a tour of their city, telling you stories of their lives and experiences of it.
It is after going on one of these tours that Zakia decided to start the project back in Scotland, and after contacting the UK based street paper The Big Issue realised the best way to do so was to create a new social enterprise!
Zakia said: "The tours in Athens opened my eyes onto the reality of the country. I wanted to recreate the experience I had had in Greece back in Scotland. It was about having a real conversation and interaction with my guide and I thought that was very powerful. But in Edinburgh, the Big Issue has limited resources so I decided Why not do it myself?
"That's where it all started!"
With the help of many partners, The Big Issue but also CRISIS and of course Shedia, Invisible (Edinburgh) was created.
"The team in Greece has been amazing. Through their advice, friendship and support, we have been able to create something very positive.
"They have been real role models for us. Our first media interview was actually in SHEDIA with our guide Biffy and for this I will always be thankful" she continues.
Click these links for more information about similar tours in Paris and London.