Shilpa Mehta is the founder of Paradise School Goa, in charge of the business, legal and financial structure of the school.
Shilpa was born and raised in the UK, but ‘reverse migrated’ to Goa around 8 years ago – spending the winters in India and the summers in England. She has a 10-year-old daughter who was flexi-schooled between these two places in a Montessori and Steiner setting.
Shilpa is a solutions-based entrepreneur and former radio and TV broadcaster for the Discovery Channel, BBC and Channel 4. When she first came to Goa she noticed there was no ‘mid-range’ accommodation for families – there was either too-basic beach huts or an over-priced five-star hotel. So she set up one of the first self-catering luxury villas in the area so people could come with their children and have a fantastic holiday without sacrificing their creature comforts, or their wallets.
When the Supreme Court of India declared outdoor music illegal after 10 pm, Shilpa imported hundreds of wireless headphones into Goa and kick-started the craze for ‘Silent Discos’ in Palolem. She pioneered a trend that is still going strong 7 years later, with 4-5 parties running a week by many different operators. The ‘party economy’ is thriving in Palolem thanks to this innovation – keeping the flow of young people strong, benefiting beach huts, restaurants, bars, taxis, etc. Plus the headphone phenomena has kept Palolem firmly on the party map of Goa.
In 2012, Shilpa became part of a committee to set up a Montessori Free School in Brighton ie applying for a government grant to make a private primary education into a state-funded one. She used her journalistic/marketing experience to enlist parental support to show the Department of Education that demand existed for the school. Their target was 100 sign-ups in a few months. Driven by her passion to make this amazing education available for everyone, Shilpa achieved this target in just 3 weeks – leaving the authorities in no doubt at all.
Shilpa decided to set up Paradise School Goa so parents of older children (such as herself) are not forced to move away in order to get a proper education – and to make a positive and much-needed contribution to the schooling choices in the area. She believes all the resources, talent and motivation are here to make a truly remarkable teaching environment – on par with western standards but without losing the organic flow of life that makes Goa so special.
Her dream for Paradise School is to create a model of educational excellence that other parents can adopt, reflecting their own unique needs and values no matter where they are in the world.