Beijing launches new app to guide visually disabled

Beijing, May 18 (IANS) China’s capital Beijing launched a new smartphone app to connect millions of visually disabled people with volunteers.

Launched on Tuesday, the free app, ‘see4me.org’, has two channels – one for visually disabled users and one for volunteers, the China Daily reported.

It allows the visually disabled to post requests, such as medical instructions or having mail read to them. When a request is posted, it will be received and answered by volunteers.

The app also enables the visually disabled and volunteers to hold live video or audio chats, and volunteers can determine those who need directions.

The visually disabled can book appointments through the app if they need to be accompanied, for example when catching a flight or seeing a doctor. Volunteers accompanying them must be licensed or registered with professional organisations.

The app has been jointly developed and promoted by Business for Social Responsibility, a global non-profit organisation that promotes social responsibility in business, and Beijing-based Protection and Ease Technology Co.

It is financed and managed by US telecommunications firm, Qualcomm

Wang Lin, director of advisory services at Business for Social Responsibility, said, “The app aims to improve the disabled population’s quality of life and independence.”

According to the China Disabled Persons’ Federation, the country had 12 million visually disabled people in 2010.

In 2012, the State Council released a guideline on setting up a barrier-free environment for disabled people.

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