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Leuven, Belgium

The Benevolent Librarian

A female librarian is reading behind her desk that is placed in front of shelves full of books.

Anneke works at a library connected to the University of Leuven in Belgium. Anneke enjoys helping people at the library, and her love for helping people was the main reason why she got interested in becoming a Be My Eyes volunteer. Anneke learned about Be My Eyes through a blog that she follows written by another librarian. On his blog, he mentioned Be My Eyes, and how fun and easy it is to help other people, so Anneke thought that she would give it a shot. She has now taken more than 20 Be My Eyes calls.

Anneke has actually been able to help the same guy several times. She helped him find the right charger for his tool by reading the voltage on the machine, so they were able to pick out the right one. She also helped him pick out a shirt and sort out his sheets. In the latest encounter that Anneke had with a Be My Eyes user, she helped the lady figure out how to descale her washing machine. It had been so long since the lady had done it that she had forgotten how to do it. Luckily, Anneke could help figuring out the process by reading the manual.

Anneke thinks that Be My Eyes is a great service for the blind and low vision users, but also a humbling experience for the volunteers:

You’re just happy to help, and it makes you feel really great.

Anneke can only try to guess what it’s like to have a service like Be My Eyes, if you’re living with sight loss. But she imagines that it must be liberating to have the option of getting the help you need, without having to invite somebody into your house, and feel obligated to socialize. Of course, you can also have a chat when making a Be My Eyes call, but if you’re in a position, where you just want an answer to your question to be able to move on with what you’re doing, Be My Eyes is perfect for that. As a volunteer, she knows what she is expected to do - and if the other user wants to have a little chat as well, it’s just a bonus.