For Tekesha, a grad student and accessibility advocate, independence is key. Blind for 13 years, Tekesha enjoys disproving perceptions about people with disabilities by living a full and independent life. “I don't want anyone to assume that because I'm disabled, I'm unable to care for myself and that I need to have someone to live with me”, Tekesha says. “So, to be able to be independent and to do things for myself and to promote it and for people to see it, it makes me feel good, it makes me feel stronger.”
One of the ways that Tekesha is able to live more independently is by using Be My Eyes. From cooking and cleaning to matching outfits and packing for her travels, the Be My Eyes volunteers are always there to aid her whenever she needs a pair of eyes. “This app has just been so beneficial and so essential to me over the last few years, and when I first installed the app, I was wondering to myself what took me so long. I was literally wondering who I was before this app, because this app has just really improved my quality of life in so many ways for me to do so many things independently”, Tekesha explains.
As an avid Be My Eyes user, Tekesha takes every opportunity to promote the app. Whether she’s doing radio interviews, presentations for local organizations and government, or talking to other individuals with visual impairments, Be My Eyes often comes up. “I have introduced Be My Eyes to many people and just said, this app is wonderful. This app will certainly help you to be able to have someone to look at something for you”, she says and continues, “So I think that every blind person should have this app as a tool and as a resource to just help them.”
Independence is very key to me in many different ways. I think it makes you feel good. It ultimately starts with you. When you personally feel that you're able to independently do something for yourself, it boosts your esteem and your confidence.
“It's a live volunteer, but it seems so real like it's a human person you're carrying around with you” Tekesha states as one of her favorite aspects of Be My Eyes. Being able to connect with the volunteers and change perceptions are an added bonus on top of the convenience of having access to sighted assistance whenever it’s needed. “It's just been fun, and people from everywhere that has volunteered to use this app to help many people, other than myself, to be independent, to be free and to feel great about themselves, because they know that they can rely on this app to aid them through many different things throughout just being blind”, Tekesha says.
After years of use and thousands of calls, Be My Eyes has become Tekesha’s go-to solution whenever she needs a sighted opinion. “I turn to Be My Eyes before I even think of any other way, to be honest” she says and concludes, “Just because I can't see, I don't have to really see to be able to get things done.”