‘Homestays of India’ is a social enterprise dedicated to support authentic family run homestays across India. We aim to provide travelers a unique culturally immersive experience and the locals an alternate source of income while preserving their heritage, culture and traditions.
Our mission is to promote sustainable tourism in India through homestays and create opportunities for people to learn and earn in their villages.
Not only do we provide the alternate livelihood to the host families but also support the local communities that help reducing migration from villages. In addition to engaging local staff and using local resources, we train the women in various aspects of hospitality like guest handling, cooking, hygiene, adopting eco-practices etc. The youth of the area are also trained in tourism activities so they get the employment opportunities in the village itself and do not have to go to the cities in search of jobs. We work actively with locals to create outlets for local produce and handicrafts to boost the local economy.
Co-Founder & CEO
Vinod Verma is an entrepreneurial person and expert in developing sustainable livelihood through traditional homestays. He has contributed to Indian tourism by bringing many off-beat places to mainstream and promoting Indian culture. A trilingual person with Hindi, English by naturalization and trained in Russian from the Russian Culture Center, he is academically qualified professional with travel, hospitality, landscape photography and field learning. Vinod Verma regularly contributes in reputed travel magazines and travel guide publications of India. Some of his popular travel guides are “Buddhist Trails in Ladakh”, “Simla and its heritage” and “Brajbhoomi: Krishna’s Playground” published by Good Earth.
Shailza Sood Dasgupta
A social entrepreneur, Shailza works closely with local rural communities to augment village economy by generating alternative income streams through homestays and other tourism related activities. Explorer by heart and a travel consultant by profession, Shailza has traveled extensively in rural India and has spent time with tribal people. After working for companies like Google and McKC for over a decade she finally followed her heart and started writing and consulting. She writes for various travel publications that include HappyTrips – Time of India travel initiative, Terrascape, Discover India, Women’s Era, Alive and leading newspapers like The Hindu and Times of Oman. She aims to make this world a better place by educating and helping people travel responsibly and keep this world a beautiful place for the coming generations to cherish.
Holding a Master’s in Economics as well as a Master’s in Business Administration, Debjani after a successful career into business development and Sales Training in various multinational companies in India, launched her first event management company in Singapore and then expanded in India into the business of niche industrial and agro products. With her deep sentiments for her fellow Indian citizens and being an avid traveller, she believed in generating mass employment in the hospitality industry through asset light ventures, and Home Stays of India which, co-founded by her close friend, became her first choice.
Advisor – Growth and Expansion
As the previous Executive Team member and Country Head, India, for Better.com, Bhavesh was responsible for running all facets of the business in India. Backed by Goldman Sachs and Kleiner Perkins, Better is a full-stack mortgage lender digitizing every step of the financing process. It was one of the fastest growing fintech companies in the US and is now listed on the NASDAQ. Prior to joining Better, Bhavesh was part of the leadership team at Zomato and heading Global Growth; this is now listed on the NSE in India. As part of the leadership team he helped scale both these companies, both of which are now listed.
He was also a board member to GCabs which was successfully taken over by Ola, and is an advisor to an AI healthcare start up, Raxa.com. During his 20 years experience, Bhavesh has worked in various roles across Singapore, the UK and India in several companies. He was previously the Senior Vice President at JP Morgan in London, building and managing partnerships. Before joining JP Morgan, he held executive positions at American Express and Financial Times in London.
Bhavesh holds an MBA from London Business School. In addition, he also studied at the London School of Economics (MSc Economics).
Dr Harsh Pathak
With over two decades of experience in litigation and advisory on matters related to private and public laws, he represents various government and non-governmental organizations as counsel in courts of India, Supreme Court, courts/ tribunals all over India and overseas. The depth of continuous legal expertise, combined with wide-ranging experience has recognized Dr. Pathak as forerunners in the field of lawyering and consulting for laws in India and overseas. He has authored an international edition on “Organisational Change”, book by Penguin publication and regularly appears in national and international events, journals, publication, media and forums as counsel or speaker on the areas of contemporary concern and legalities.
A legal counsel by profession and globetrotter by passion, Dr Pathak is a strong votary of community development through conservation and promotion of natural and cultural heritage. With his global and local exposure he strongly believes in “HomeStays” as tool for socio-economic-cultural development, experiential learning and sustainable tourism in particular and community development at large.
Mahima Mehra, a versatile personality, thinks from the mind, acts from the heart. She has decades of experience working in rural areas, soft skill training, alternative education, women empowerment programs, initiating libraries in remote areas, travel and tourism initiatives and infrastructure development – preservation of culture and heritage. She also works with local artisans to promote handicrafts and handlooms. An avid reader and an artist, Mahima has collaborated with like-minded NGOs and CSR projects to make a difference. She is Co Founder of Himalayan Volunteer Tourism Project with over 8000 members working towards bridging the gap between haves and have nots; Executive Director Operations- Human Rights Council- AICHLS with focus on educating people, especially in rural and remote areas, about their basic rights and RTI; Freelance Journalist for National Bureau for News and Broadcasting; Advisory Board Member – Nomad Lawyers team and writes stories about unsung heroes of India.
National Business Leadership Award – 2019
The team is presented National Business Leadership Award 2019 for the exemplary work in the field of Travel and Tourism. It is an acknowledgment of the quality and the authenticity of the homestay experience that the team strive to bring to every single customer from all over the world.
National Women Excellence Award – 2020
Our Co-founder Shailza Sood Dasgupta is felicitated with the prestigious National Women Excellence Award 2020 organized by Indo European Chamber of Small and Medium Enterprises (IECSME). Shailza was chosen for her remarkable work in rural India and empowering women by developing homestays.
“Thanks to all the wonderful homestay owners who have put in their belief and trust in us and all our customers who took our word for it, went out and experimented and experienced life in a Homestay!”