Dr. Helena Ndume Is Recognized for Her Impact


Dr. Helena Ndume, SEE International’s long-time volunteer ophthalmologist, was recently awarded both the Forbes Woman Africa Social Impact Award and the Lions Clubs International Humanitarian Award. These prestigious awards recognize Dr. Ndume’s lifelong commitment to restoring sight in Namibia.

Forbes Woman Africa Social Impact Award

The Forbes Woman Africa Social Impact Award, presented to Dr. Ndume in 2022, recognizes women with outstanding achievements and leadership within and beyond Africa. The publication is Africa’s first women’s interest magazine from Forbes, and honors tycoons and trailblazers of Africa.

Lions Clubs International Humanitarian Award

The Lions Clubs International Humanitarian Award is the highest honor of the association given to an individual with exemplary humanitarian efforts. Dr. Ndume was nominated by SEE International and selected as the winner of the $250,000 grant prize. She was presented with her award during the 104th Lions Clubs International Convention in Montreal, CA, in June, 2022.

Helena intends on using this grant to support SEE’s programmatic work, and to train more humanitarian ophthalmologists in essential surgical techniques that will help build more sustainable eyecare systems worldwide.

Dr. Ndume’s Path to Humanitarian Eye Care

Dr. Helena Ndume was born during Namibia’s illegal occupation by apartheid South Africa. She was 15 years old when she fled the country to escape the violence, imprisonment, inferior Bantu education, and torture.

She took refuge at the South West People’s Organization (SWAPO) in Zambia, settling in SWAPO Health and Education Centers to continue her education. After facing much adversity, she wanted to be of help to her newly independent country, so she became a humanitarian doctor and dedicated her life to meeting the eyecare needs of underprivileged communities.

SEE International and Dr. Ndume

Dr. Ndume has been volunteering with SEE for over 25 years, and has restored sight to more than 35,000 people over the course of her career. 

In addition to the her most recent awards, Dr. Ndume has been recognized for her overwhelming impact on those in need by many other organizations.

In 2015, Dr. Ndume became the first female recipient of the UN’s Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela Award.

“To thousands of people, avoidable blindness is the difference between surviving and starving. My biggest goal in life is to end preventable blindness in Namibia, and to build a team of committed young people that will continue to fight against it, so even when I am not here, they will carry on that mission.”

Dr. Helena Ndume

Part of SEE International’s Team

Dr. Ndume is an invaluable member of SEE International’s team of volunteers that dedicate their lives to making communities in need healthier and stronger.

SEE is honored to be a part of her efforts to build more sustainable communities in Namibia, one patient at a time.


Get Our Monthly Updates

Related Posts