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Sushmita
New Delhi, India
volunteer

From Volunteer Reader to Be My Eyes Volunteer

Sushmita looking off to the side, smiling to the camera. She's resting her chin on her fist.

Sushmita, from New Delhi, India, is far from new in the volunteering game. Besides being an independent producer of corporate and training films, documentaries, etc., she has also been a volunteer at the National Association for the Blind in Delhi for the last 12-13 years. As part of their Talking Library project, Sushmita and many other volunteers read aloud books that are recorded, and blind and low-vision people can either download or borrow them as CD’s. Through her volunteer work, Sushmita has met one of her good friends, Sandeep. Sandeep is blind and was the one who introduced Sushmita to Be My Eyes.

Sushmita has had the pleasure of helping many blind and low-vision users in India. There are two tasks in particular that the blind and low-vision users often ask Sushmita for help with. The first one is to read the captcha code. A captcha code often pops up when shopping online, but for blind and low-vision people using a screen reader, the captcha code is inaccessible, and they therefore need help reading it out. The second is determining denominations of money. Newer bills are often the same size, and therefore impossible for blind people to distinguish. Whatever the task, Sushmita always finds it fun and interesting to help out the blind and low-vision users.

I think Be My Eyes is a wonderful app and I hope more people can use it and benefit from it. I certainly enjoy being a volunteer.

One experience, however, stands out in Sushmita’s memory. In India, they wear the traditional clothing of ‘salwar’, ‘kameez’ and ‘dupatta’, which are loose trousers, a long shirt and a scarf wrapped around the shoulders. Some people choose to wear this clothing in contrast colors, but most people prefer to wear the sets color coordinated. Sushmita clearly remembers, when she was connected to a blind lady, who had laid out a lot of her clothes on her bed and needed Sushmita’s help with sorting them into sets of the same colors.

We had a lot of giggles all through, and she said that she was lucky she had gotten a female volunteer to respond to the call, and that I could help her and discuss clothes.

Together the two ladies got all the clothing sorted into piles of coordinated colors, so that it was easy for the caller to find a matching outfit.