Dr. Helena Ndaipovanhu Ndume is a Namibian ophthalmologist, notable for her charitable work among sufferers of eye-related illnesses in Namibia. To date, Dr. Ndume has ensured that some 30,000 blind Namibians have received eye surgery and are fitted with intra-ocular lens implants free of charge. She is currently the head of the Ophthalmology department at Windhoek Central Hospital, Namibia’s largest hospital, and is one of only six Namibian ophthalmologists.
Early life and education
Helena Ndume was born in Tsumeb, Oshikoto Region. She studied medicine in Germany, before returning to Namibia in 1989 to complete a medical internship. She later returned to Germany, to specialise in ophthalmology at the University of Leipzig.
She is married, and has one son.
Work in Namibia
In 1995, Dr Ndume was introduced to Surgical Eye Expeditions International, and set about starting a project in Namibia. In August 1997, the first eye camp was held at Rundu, Kavango Region. Currently, four or five eye camps are held each year in different locations.
Work with the Namibia Red Cross Society
For six years, from 2001 to 2007, Dr Ndume was vice chairperson of the Namibia Red Cross Society. In 2009, Dr Ndume was honoured with a humanitarian award by the NRCS for her work in restoring sight to those blinded by cataracts.
Work with SEE International
Dr. Ndume has volunteered with sight-restoring nonprofit SEE International since 1995. Since then, SEE and Dr. Ndume have collaborated to hold free week-long eye clinics in Namibia, typically twice every year. These clinics provide free eye surgeries for approximately 300 impoverished men, women, and children.
International Recognition and Awards
- Dr. Helena Ndume and Jorge Fernando Branco Sampaio of Portugal, became the first recipients of the United Nations Nelson Mandela Prize on 22 June 2015. 
- Grand Commander of the Order of Namibia First Class;
- Red Cross International Humanitarian Service Award (2009);
- Rotary International Humanitarian Award in the fight against blindness (2008);
- Namibia National Science Award (2005);
- Humanitarian award in the prevention of blindness in Santa Barbara, California, USA (2001);
- Lions International Award in recognition of sincere and devoted efforts with Lions Operation Brightsight Project (1999).
- Ikela, Selma (22 March 2011). "For those that have made the country proud". Namibian Sun. Archived from the original on 25 April 2012. Retrieved 28 October 2011.
- McCarthy, Diane (11 September 2011). "Namibia's 'miracle doctor' brings gift of sight". Cable News Network. Retrieved 28 October 2011.
- Iipinge, Saara (March 2010). "NRCS honours a remarkable humanitarian" (PDF). NRCS Newsletter. Namibia Red Cross Society. p. 5. Archived from the original (PDF) on 21 September 2011. Retrieved 28 October 2011.
- SHEJAVALI, NANGULA (7 October 2009). "Helena Ndume – 'miracle doctor' restoring eyesight". The Namibian. Retrieved 28 October 2011.
- "The Namibia Red Cross Society shows "way forward" at 2007 AGM" (PDF). NRCS Newsletter. Namibia Red Cross Society. September 2007. Archived from the original (PDF) on 8 August 2011. Retrieved 28 October 2011.
- "SEE International - Namibia". SEE International.