Dr. Helena Ndume Is Recognized for Her Impact

March 2022 | SEE News

By Paolena Comouche

Content Writer / Special Projects

SEE is proud to announce that long-time SEE volunteer ophthalmologist Dr. Helena Ndume has been recognized with two prestigious awards for her lifelong commitment to restoring sight in Namibia!

Dr. 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.

Dr. Ndume has now been volunteering with SEE for over 25 years, and has restored sight to more than 35,000 people over the course of her career. Throughout the years, she has been recognized with many awards for her overwhelming impact on those in need. In 2015, she became the first female recipient of the UN’s Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela Award. Just this February, she was given the Forbes Woman Africa Social Impact Award. And most recently, SEE International nominated her for the Lions Clubs International Humanitarian Award, and she was selected as the winner of the $250,000 grant prize. She 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.

 “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,” said Dr. Ndume.

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.