2015 United Nations Nelson Mandela Prize

May 2016 | SEE News

By Kate Bryant

Former Vice President of Development

SEE volunteer Dr. Helena Ndume of Namibia became the winner of the first-ever 2015 United Nations Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela Prize.

The award ceremony was held at United Nations Headquarters in New York on July 24th, 2015, as part of annual commemoration of the Nelson Mandela International Day. You can watch the archived video here of the ceremony or read her acceptance speech here.

About Dr. Helena Ndume

Dr. Helena Ndume is a Namibian ophthalmologist, who has achieved international renown for her humanitarian work. To date, she has performed sight-restoring surgeries upon 30,000 Namibians, completely free of charge. Her motivation to serve those less fortunate than her stems from the civil unrest that she witnessed as a child. Forced to flee her homeland at the age of 15, Helena lived in Zambia, Gambia (where she completed secondary school), and Angola, before attending medical school in Germany. She joined SEE International’s roster of over 600 volunteer eye surgeons in 1995.

Since then, Dr. Ndume has dedicated her life and career to treating blindness and low-vision, both in Namibia and throughout the developing world. Many of her patients in the capital city of Windhoek have taken to calling her “Namibia’s miracle doctor.”

Read more about Dr. Ndume here.


We are very honored to have Dr. Ndume be a part of the international SEE team and are thrilled that the United Nations is recognizing her dedicated humanitarian efforts as a Mandela Prize winner. We offer our deepest congratulations to Helena on this impressive accomplishment.

Randal Avolio, President / CEO

To help support Dr. Ndume’s sight-restoring work, please make a donation today.

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