Harry's thoughts on interning at VIP World Services
My name is Harry Mallett and I am currently interning at VIP World Services as a digital marketing intern.
This has been a very interesting experience to which I have never previously had before, working with people I am yet to meet in person is unique to say the least. Having received an email from my university about a digital marketing internship opportunity, in the wake of the lockdown I was very keen to get involved and learn more. Soon after I learnt that this was for a start-up company supporting Visually Impaired People (VIPs). Having not known anyone in my circle to have problems with their vision, I admit that I have perhaps been naive to the problems of visual impairment in the UK.
In particular we recently did a post around the myths and misconceptions around visual impairment. This really opened my eyes to the ability of VIP’s to use technology and social media without sight. This is a pretty obvious observation, however it is something I could not get my head around at first. Although with the use of ‘screen reader’’ to translate on-screen information into speech, social media is very accessible to VIP’s.
And the Travel Hands app concept was one I fully got behind in helping VIP’s get paired with verified volunteers to walk alongside each other to similar destinations.
It was a new concept to me (still is) and one I believe can really help VIP’s around London get from A to B safely and additionally generate a feel good factor for the volunteers and likewise for the VIP’s taking part, bringing the community closer.
In promoting this idea I have been interacting on the Facebook groups over the last few months and have come across so many different people from around the world who would never have met but through there commonalities in being visually impaired. This for me really demonstrates the power social media has in bringing people together particularly throughout the lockdown where people have relied on social media platforms for connections. And it is people who are Visually impaired who have struggled a lot with being alone at these times and thus have relied on making connections online.
To help with this we have hosted several Zoom calls to varying degrees of success to provide a place for VIP’s to communicate with people and participate in activities, taking the focus away from the chaos Covid-19 was producing.
Promoting these calls was something I found very rewarding as this was a service that could bring joy to people and had a purpose. Which is at the heart of what we are currently doing at VIP World in enhancing visually impaired peoples lives in a very simple way. And with myself making a small contribution through spreading awareness on social media in my role has been challenging but very rewarding to know I am part of a start-up company with positive intentions to provide a solution to a potential problem and I am excited to keep on learning.