People are sharing their heartwarming experiences with an app that lets you ‘see’ for blind people
via Be My Eyes

Smartphones and voice-activated technology have been a huge blessing for the visually-impaired.

They make it much easier for visually-impaired people to access information while making day-to-day activities a lot more convenient.

Before smartphones, they would have to carry multiple items such as GPS devices, voice-activated note takers, and bar scanners.

Now, a new app called Be My Eyes is making life a lot easier for visually-impaired people by connecting them to people with sight via Facetime. It also gives sighted volunteers the opportunity to give back.

Be My Eyes was created by Hans Jorgen Wiberg, a visually-impaired man, in 2015. Visually-impaired people would often use Facetime to ask friends and family members for help.


So Wilberg created Be My Eyes so they wouldn't have to be as reliant on personal relationships.

Visually-impaired people use the app for countless purposes, including finding lost things in their homes, reading labels, counting money, and matching their clothes.

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In four years, the community has grown to over 140,000 low-vision or blind users and over 2.5 million volunteers. There are so many people who've signed up to help that sometimes it takes weeks for them to receive their first call.

"When we launched, we didn't know if people would be willing to volunteer time to help complete strangers," Alexander Hauerslev Jensen, the CCO of Be My Eyes, told The Guardian. "But within the first 24 hours, we had more than 10,000 volunteers."

"The fact that we have so many volunteers enables us to have a really fast response time. I see it as a good problem," he continued. "It takes a few minutes to make a big impact on someone else's life. This is a combination of technology and human generosity."

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People who've signed up for the app as volunteers have been raving about their experiences on Twitter. Here are just a few of the recent experiences they've had as Be My Eyes volunteers.

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If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.