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My name is Shehnaz and I am working as a tour guide at Reality Tours and Travel. My family is originally from Bihar but my father moved to Delhi about 25 years ago to work and sustain the family. I was born in Delhi in a middle-class family and we are six siblings. My father is a tailor but I would like to call him an artist and, of course, my superhero…

I went to a government school and after completing my education, I used to help my mother in household work but I also wanted to keep studying, so I enrolled at the Indira Gandhi National Open University. I was a very shy girl and not confident at all, but I have been very lucky that God gave me a beautiful family who always encourages me to do well in my life. My father helped me to enrol for a Professional Hospitality course so that I could improve my general knowledge and my English language skills.

While doing this course my father again showed me the right direction to aim at. I also then enrolled on an NGO Health and Fitness trust where I got a wonderful opportunity to learn English along with computer skills. While doing this course I started getting very busy with homework and study but my mum always supported me both in helping me with studying and also giving me time at home. She is indeed a super mum and she always takes care of my family. At the end of the advanced computer course, I scored 1st rank in my batch and that made my family really happy and proud. They have been always there to support me and I was glad I rewarded them that way.

After finishing my computer course I continued to study English and also started a visual documentation course and now photography has become one of my favourite hobbies. Since I was a child I always loved to meet people from different countries and I always tried to talk to them and help them. After finishing the hospitality course I even more wanted to help people, especially those who are visiting my country. I want to show them Indian hospitality and culture. And one day this dream of mine came through when one of my friends mentioned Reality Tours and Travel to me. I joined this social business and I start doing training to become a tour guide.

During my training process, I started learning about my country and city more and more and also started speaking more in English. I have become more knowledgeable about my city and this makes me feel very happy. Not only this builds up my confidence, but I also feel very much empowered on a personal level. I started doing tours on my own and started showing my culture and country to our guest. Being a girl in this men’s working society it quite difficult sometimes, especially being a tour guide. Sometimes it is quite challenging as you need to face a lot of different challenges while you are working.

My time schedule has changed completely. I never used to come home late at night and often I also have to go on tours in the early morning when no one is up and around. My family didn’t initially like this because coming back home late at night makes them worry because as a girl, and according to our society, girls should not be around late in the night as it is not safe, especially when I am often dealing time with men.

Sometimes I find it difficult to manage house works and my job together Becoming a tour guide is not easy but now the Shehnaz who used to be shy and quiet has become a confident girl who can speak not only English but can even share her thoughts and views in front of many people. Now I am also helping my family and my father, who helps me all the time, and who’s my role model, he now feels proud of me.

Reality Tours and Travel has given me a lot of knowledge and confidence. I can now take good decisions in my life and I will always help all our guests and always keep India`s name in all our visitor’s hearts.

About the Author: Shehnaz is a female tour guide working for Reality Tours & Travel in Delhi.