Rodger Curry, Alexa volunteer, who has low vision himself, gets satisfaction out of empowering others by setting up their Alexa smart speaker.

How long have you been a volunteer?

I started as a volunteer for Blind Low Vision NZ, formerly Blind Foundation; I then decided I needed something else to do, as my eyesight was getting so bad.  I’ve enjoyed my Alexa so much I thought I would put my name forward for that and help other people.

What do you like about the Alexa?

I am a bit of a technophile. I like computers so I spent hours and hours working out all the different things I could do with my Alexa. I think that Alexa is doing so much for the low vision community. It is just incredible.

What sort of things do you do with your Alexa?

As well as setting up all the usual things like calendars and the library – I’ve also taught myself voice automation.

Which means that anything that requires a remote control like a TV or air conditioning I can operate with my voice.

What is the feedback you have had when you have set a client up with Alexa? 

I would say 90% of the clients I set up are very happy and 10% not unhappy but scared. But when they know that I am low vision myself, it does give a level of confidence knowing that if I can do it then so can they. I also let people know that I am at the end of the phone if they have any questions or problems. I’m happy to talk to people and if need be go out and retrain them again.

How has Rodger helped others?

Sonia Thomson lives in Nelson and Rodger set up her Alexa.  As well as having low vision, Sonia has no dexterity in her hands.

“Alexa is marvelous – it’s given me independence. I love the having the Library but Alexa also has the ability to turn on the TV just by using my voice – its great!”

The final word from Rodger to clients who may be considering Alexa is – don’t be afraid help is available.

If you are a client of Blind Low Vision NZ, you can get an Alexa free of charge. Get in touch with our contact centre on 0800 24 33 33 or info@blindlowvision.org.nz