Would you like to do some good in the world, but want to start small? Do you feel the need to volunteer, but have only a limited or unpredictable schedule? Well, have I got the app for you!
This is Be My Eyes, a Copenhagen-based non-profit that offers a free app enabling visually impaired people to enlist the aid of their sighted counterparts via smartphone. As long as you are sighted (and can read), and have a cell phone camera and a few free minutes, you can be of service to someone who needs a little help. It all came from an idea posed in a Ted Talk by Hans Jørgen Wiberg.
It’s a really genius idea. There are volunteers around the world in more than 150 countries, who speak and read more than 180 different languages, so the service is actually available 24 hours a day. Even those who are housebound or have other physical challenges can volunteer.
“It’s my hope that by helping each other as an online community, Be My Eyes will make a big difference in the everyday lives of blind people all over the world.” – Hans Jørgen Wiberg, Founder of Be My Eyes
Here are a few common tasks people are being asked to help out with using Be My Eyes:
- Reading street signs
- Helping map new routes to stores, home, services, school, work
- Familiarizing someone with new places like hotel rooms
- Navigating public transportation, reading posted maps and schedules
- Finding lost or dropped items
- Reading books, magazines, and websites when braille versions or accessible websites are not available
- Reading setup or error message screens on electronics, home networks, and cell phones
- Describing pictures, paintings, and artwork
- Helping choose colors for decor, matching clothing
- Identifying household products
- Identifying expiration dates on perishable food