Do you know Dr Helena Ndume? As of 2010, she was one of only six ophthalmologists in Namibia.
Born during Namibia’s occupation by apartheid South Africa, Ndume fled to Angola then Zambia and the Gambia. At 15, she joined the liberation movement that was involved in Namibia’s independence.
Ndume initially had dreams of pursuing a career in fashion but instead decided to study medicine in Germany and gained some early experience in India. Now she treats thousands of people that suffer from curable diseases.
Working in Namibia’s largest hospital, Ndume has dedicated her life to restoring sight people with cataracts, and treating others who suffer from curable diseases.
Ndume is so dedicated to restoring people’s eyesight in Namibia and across the developing world that she has performed over 35,000 surgeries for free.
In 1995, Ndume joined SEE International as an eye volunteer and has been working with them across Rwanda, in cities like Rundu, Oshakati, Oshikuku, and Engela.
In 2004, she was awarded the Grand Commander of the Order of Namibia and in 2015, she was the one of the winners of the first-ever United Nations Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela Prize.
She is often referred to as the ‘miracle doctor’ and constantly states that no feeling can replace the joy of her patients when their sight is restored. Ndume says, “You can’t call yourself a progressive country or nation if you still have people going blind from cataracts today.”