Dr. Helena Ndume

About Dr. Helena Ndume

Dr. Helena Ndume is a Namibian ophthalmologist who is internationally renowned for her humanitarian work. To date, she has performed sight-restoring surgeries upon 35,000 Namibians, completely free of charge. “There’s no money in this world that can pay the joy of someone who was so blind for so many years and then suddenly they regain their vision,” she says.

“There’s no money in this world that can pay for the joy of someone who was blind and then suddenly they regain their vision”

Dr. Helena Ndume

Dr. Ndume’s Medical Inspiration

Dr. Ndume’s 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.

Namibia and Beyond

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.” In 2004, she was awarded Grand Commander of the Order of Namibia, First Class.

Dr. Ndume, “Miracle Doctor” on CNN

In 2011, CNN produced a piece on Helena’s work, which can be seen below.

“She is inexhaustible,” says Dr. Michael Colvard of SEE. “She is an incredible physician, very capable but also able to motivate people and she’s been able to get the government of Namibia to support her and her colleagues.”

More About Dr. Helena Ndume

Recipient of United Nations Nelson Mandela Award

in 2015 Helena Ndume, MD was awarded the inaugural Nelson Mandela Prize. A prestigious recognition for her lifelong dedication to ending preventable blindness in Namibia.

Lions Clubs International Humanitarian Award and Forbes Woman Africa Social Impact Award Recipient

These awards were presented in 2022 to Dr. Ndume, providing not only well deserved accolades, but a grant for $250,000.

Over 35,000 Surgeries in Namibia

SEE has partnered with Dr. Ndume since 1997 to operate clinics in Namibia where she has treated over 35,000 patients.

A Chance to See Again

SEE International’s film, “A Chance to See Again” profiles this incredible doctor and one of our most prolific doctors. The film is available in our Media Library.

SEE Podcast with Dr. Ndume Interiew

Dr. Ndume discussed her work and the recognition of receiving the inaugural United Nations Nelson Mandela award in this interview with SEE International, available in our Media Library.

A SEE International Humanitarian Leader

Helena began working with SEE International over 25 years ago, and has remained a humanitarian leader and one our most dedicated volunteers, changing the lives of thousands of patients.


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