5 Initiatives Giving Sight to the Visually Impaired

Learn about these empowering initiatives that are changing the lives of visually impaired individuals throughout the world.

May 22, 2015

Guide dogs are helping the visually-impaired increase their mobility. [Shutterstock]

There are a lot of incredible initiatives out there that are improving the lives of the visually impaired by providing them with alternative ways to see and live independently. Learn about these five Goodnet selected organizations and apps that are helping visually impaired individuals throughout the world. 

1. THE NONPROFIT THAT SAVES SIGHT AND LIVES

Helen Keller was a pioneer and paved the way for fair treatment and awareness of blind and deaf individuals. Her legacy can still be felt today with the HELEN KELLER INTERNATIONAL which was founded in 1915. The nonprofit aims to prevent blindness and vision loss in developing countries, through cataract surgery, vision correction, vitamin A supplementation and more.  In the United States, Helen Keller International provides free in-school vision screenings and prescription eyeglasses to children in underserved communities. 

The Helen Keller Foundation is active in over 21 countries. [Facebook]

2. THE APP THAT GIVES EYES TO THE BLIND

BE MY EYES is an incredible app that connects sighted volunteers with blind individuals to help them everyday tasks- all via a live video connection. 
Requests such as checking the expiration date on a carton of milk are what Be My Eyes specializes in. The simple to use app lets visually impaired users send out a request for assistance to a network of sighted volunteers. In an easy and informal interaction, the blind person films what they need assistance with, the helper describes what they see - and together they work to solve the problem.

http://www.bemyeyes.org/

Lending eyes to the visually impaired. [Be My Eyes]

3. THE WORLD’S ONLY FLYING EYE HOSPITAL

Merging vision with aviation, ORBIS started off as a mobile teaching hospital that trains future eye doctors from developing countries.
The nonprofit has expanded beyond the plane and now has long-term programs and training in various countries, focusing on rural areas and underserved urban communities. Their programs focus on the treatment and prevention of childhood blindness, cataract, trachoma and corneal disease.    

A fully functioning hospital onboard. [Facebook]

4. THE CANINE HELPERS THAT PROVIDE MOBILITY AND SUPPORT

Dogs are considered some of our most beloved companions, but when properly trained, canines have the ability to serve as the eyes for someone who cannot see. The LEADER DOGS FOR THE BLIND specially trains and provides guide dogs dogs for free to applicants – including deaf-blind who want to increase their mobility. In addition to their dog-training expertise,  the charity holds a summer camp for teens, full of typical camp activities plus independent skill training, leadership development and an intro to guide dogs. 

This yellow lab is undergoing training to become a Leader Dog. [Facebook]

5. THE NONPROFIT THAT IS ALL ABOUT SPORTS, ATHLETICS AND FUN

Tennis, soccer, judo and archery are just some of the sports available through the BRITISH BLIND SPORT nonprofit. The goal of the charity is to help blind and partially sighted people get active and play sports. They do this by organizing competitions, providing sight classifications to blind and partially sighted athletes to ensure fair and equal competition as well as educating teachers so that children with visual impairments can play. 

Tennis is one of the sports offered at British Blind Sport. [British Blind Sport]