Be My Eyes – The new way of being a volunteer!

Be My Eyes – The new way of being a volunteer!

Have you ever felt the desire and the need of being able to make better someone’s life on a daily bases?

There are many ways in the world to be useful to others. However, unfortunately, it is not always easy to manage money and time, as well as, transportation, energy, motivation…
Today everyone has an internet connection (that’s not always a good thing!) and we spent lots of free time navigating, becoming even worse at time management.

I totally agree with anyone states we can still save the internet from futility just learning how to use it. 


That’s the reason why once I stopped my routine for a moment thinking about:

How may the internet help me in this way?


I really would have loved that the internet could help me in doing my daily good deed…
And that’s when Be my eyes came through! Helping me in doing something little that means a lot in someone’s today.  

What is Be My Eyes?

“Be My Eyes is a free app that connects blind and low-vision people with sighted volunteers and company representatives for visual assistance through a live video call.” (Source: www.bemyeyes.com)


Have you ever thought how hard may be doing a daily gesture if you can’t see?
 

It must be terribly difficult. And they are literally superheroes in my eyes. 

Be My Eyes enables blind and low-vision users to lead a more independent life by giving them access to a network of sighted volunteers. By the tap of a button, they can get connected to a sighted volunteer, who is ready to provide them with visual assistance for the task at hand.” (Source: www.bemyeyes.com)


How does Be My Eyes work?

After downloading, launch the Be My Eyes app to register.
The app will take you through a short 5-step registration process:

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  1. Select your user type: you need to let By My Eyes know whether you are a sighted volunteer or a blind/low-vision user.
  2. You can choose to sign up via Facebook or via email.
  3. After you completed the registration, a confirmation email will arrive in your mailbox, click on the link to create your profile.
  4. You need to let Be My Eyes know in what languages you can provide with assistance. Let’s start with your primary language and add a secondary language in settings if you wish.
  5. Nearly there! You must now give Be My Eyes access to your microphone and camera. Please, let the app send you notifications so can receive calls and updates from the community.


Now you are ready to receive your first call!


Who did get this revolutionary idea?

In 2012, Hans Jørgen Wiberg founded the Non-Profit Organisation of Be My Eyes with a goal: to make the world more accessible for blind and low-vision people.


The idea of Be My Eyes came to Wiberg when a blind friend told him that he used video-calls to connect with family and friends, who could help him with solving everyday tasks. 
Wiberg believed that the technology of video-calls could be used to build a community of volunteers who assist blind or low-vision individuals.


Be My Eyes: Hans Jørgen Wiberg at TEDxCopenhagen

Asking for help it is not always easy.

Most of the time, when we ask for help we are annoyed by the necessity of showing our weaknesses. We rely on friends and family for it, we know they love us unconditionally and they will help us as many times as we need, but into the deep, if it happens a lot, we feel a sense of inadequacy.
This happens particularly when it concerns an illness because it is something that makes us really vulnerable. Nobody chooses to have a handicap. Asking for help in something that concerns our illness might be a heavy psychic burden; especially if someone hasn’t fully accepted it yet.

Nobody likes to be exposed.

Here comes the main purpose of Be My Eyes: “Ask for help without really asking”.

Be My Eyes is a safe, easy and all new way to be a volunteer and to receive assistance. “It is the most convenient way to do it”, it does not need money and I would say neither time! Volunteers can do it anywhere and at anytime, even while doing some other little tasks. 


What happen if I cannot answer to an assistance video-call?

If you miss a call from a blind person, no worries! Another volunteer will take that call: indeed, one call request is sent to multiple volunteers at a time to ensure an answer as quickly as possible.

Since Be My Eyes has been launched in 2015, almost 2,000,000 volunteers signed up to assist blind and low-vision users. 
Every day, volunteers sign into Be My Eyes to lend their sight to blind and low-vision individuals to tackle challenges and solve problems together.

Be My Eyes Screenshot App Home
Be My Eyes: Home

How can I become a volunteer? 

To become a volunteer you just need to download the app and register. Nothing easier!
Since 2017, Be My Eyes App is available either on iOS and Android devices, both phones and tablets.

Be My Eyes users can request assistance in over 180 languages making the app the biggest online community for blind and low-vision people as well as one of the largest micro-volunteering platforms in the world! 


As you can see from the screenshot above, we are tons of volunteers! In fact, there are nearly 17 volunteers ready to help every blind person.
It means it might pass a few time before you get your first call as a volunteer, but don’t worry: the app is perfectly working! (if you had some doubts).

Are you curious about others experience?

Me too! And I have found great the Community Stories Section of Be My eyes.
Here, you can find lots of stories written by volunteers and blind/low-vision people. It is amazing to read how Be My Eyes gives a daily help to anyone is using it: also volunteers are excited to use Be My Eyes as they are so happy for being helpful to someone else. 

“The feeling of usefulness, when you answer a call and can successfully help someone, cannot be described. I am always eagerly awaiting the next one.” (Anonymous volunteer)


Let me tell you about my experience!

I have received my first video-call from a blind person only a few months after my subscription. He was Andrea, an Italian caller, asking for the difference between two bottles of detergent, the same to the touch.
Another time, an Italian woman called me asking for an information written on a promotional flyer. 
Or again I got a call from a woman asking if her new slow-cooker was turned on. 
Instead, a friend of mine helped a young blind girl in choosing same colour socks.

I have to admit that the concept behind Be My Eyes makes me always a little bit emotional. It is incredible how kindness makes people closer to each other; how a granted gesture for us, it is not so obvious for someone else; how the internet really can help us in connecting each other for good deeds. 

These are little daily gestures that can really make the day of someone… and not only the day of whom is asking for help:

“My first opportunity to help went very well. What a wonderful way to connect people. Thanks for making my day.” (Anonymous volunteer)


I think one of the main magic of the micro-volunteering is the demonstration that with a very little effort and very little time consuming, it is still possible to be really helpful, kind and generous.

“Dearest Friends, Yes, I have made one call. I cried afterward and was quite emotional. It isn’t because of my blindness—I’ve been blind too long for that to be of any issue to me… I’m quite moved by the generosity of the volunteers and the brilliance behind the concept and app.” (Brian, English blind user)

2 million volunteers are lots, but never enough!

Spread the word with friends and colleagues.
You will be surely of help for someone out there.

“Being able to see yourself in the mirror every morning is not something we can take for granted, but with our eyes and Be My Eyes we can look into the mirror together and maybe make this world a little bit better.” (Hans Jorgen Wiberg)


BECOME A BE MY EYES VOLUNTEER TODAY

Start today doing your daily good deed by just taking part in this wonderful micro-volunteering community: download Be My Eyes from Google Play or App Store!

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20 Replies to “Be My Eyes – The new way of being a volunteer!”

  1. I always try and adore doing my good things during the day! This app allows me to do even more when I am given the opportunity to!

    From Geocaching to Be My Eyes app = from good to better!

    Keep it up Tania! Super curious what the next article is going to be about!

    Definitely ticking the box next to “Notify me of new posts by email.”, well done! 😀

    1. I am honoured to read this! Thank for your words, Sandra.
      Thank you for subscribing! I will try to do not disappoint you with the upcoming content 🙂

      1. I was asked whether the two parfumes that the guy had bought were the same or two different ones. But I didn’t have an idea of what “Be My Eyes” was, I was literally thrown the mobile phone by a friend who just told me “a blind person need your help, get the call” 😄

        1. That’s great! An sudden full immersion in something that would have made your day before you knew it! (I’m sure that’s what happened!) 😉
          Thank you for sharing your experience, you’ve been the first one!

  2. This is so cool and useful!
    I heard about it, and I would like to use it, but I’m sooooo shy!
    However, shyness does not lead anywhere, while help does, so let’s do it!!!
    Thank you 😀

    1. Well said, Giada! When there is something that I’d love to do but I’m too scary of going out of my comfort zone I always repeat that it me: “Overcome the limits may be the most difficult and, at the same time, the best thing you could ever do.” 😉

  3. Fantastica Tania! Sarebbe bello sensibilizzare anche bambini e ragazzi nelle scuole. Visto che insegno, ci studiero’ un po’ per applicare questo bel progetto.

    1. Grazie del commento Roberta! La sensibilizzazione nelle scuole è qualcosa di eccezionale: nasce dal basso, quasi per gioco, insegnando ai bambini come diventare GRANDI 🙂
      Grazie per il tuo apporto, sono sicura che nascerà un progetto interessante!
      ___________
      Thank you for commenting, Roberta! Awareness-raising activities in schools is something magic! It is like teaching something from scratch to someone that’s willing to help, as long as it sounds like a game! 🙂
      Thank you for supporting, I am sure it will born a great school project!

    1. That’s great! I haven’t the chance yet to recommend the app to someone blind/low-vision, but I’ll definitely do as soon as I have the chance.
      Thank you for commenting! More app like this will come, be sure to subscribe for the newsletter if you’re interested in this! 🙂

  4. Thank you Tania to letting me discover this app!!I am completely agree with Roberta that could be very cool a school-project.
    Ps. I will let you know how the experience was Tania 🙂

    1. Thank you for commenting Antonietta! It’s a pleasure for me spreading the word about thing like this 🙂
      Yes! Let us know! I can’t wait to know more about your first experience with Be My Eyes 😍
      Are you involved in schools as Roberta?

  5. this is so cool! is what you can call ” good connection” 🙂 and it is very practical and efficient! I’m definetly going to do it! thanks Tania for letting me know!

    1. I like your definition, Arianna! “Good connection” sounds really good.
      Practical, efficient …and you don’t know yet how is rewarding! You’ll see, let us know! 😉

  6. Se tutti ci aiutassimo in questo modo nelle diverse problematiche della vita, il mondo sarebbe di certo un posto migliore. Bellissima idea!!

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