Lions Clubs International Honors Dr. Helena Ndume with Humanitarian Award

For her dedication to humanitarian service and medical contributions to the world, Dr. Helena Ndume, Chief of Ophthalmology at Windhoek Central Hospital in Namibia, and partner with SEE International, was presented with the 2022 Lions Humanitarian Award during the 104th Lions Clubs International Convention in Montreal, CA, on June 28, 2022.

Dr. Helena NdumeForced to flee her homeland in the Oshikoto region of Namibia at 15, Helena lived in the South West Africa People’s Organization’s (SWAPO) liberation camps in Zambia and Angola. The organization sent her to The Gambia in West Africa, where she completed secondary school. Motivated to serve those less fortunate due to the civil unrest that she witnessed as a child, SWAPO further supported her to attend medical school in Germany to help those in need. In 1995, Dr. Helena Ndume met with the founder of SEE International, and together they worked toward reversing preventable blindness in Namibia.

Since then, Dr. Ndume has dedicated her life and career to treating blindness and low-vision, both in Namibia and throughout the developing world. Dr. Ndume has performed more than 35,000 eye surgeries free of charge in her home country of Namibia, Angola, and around the world.

“For so many people, living with preventable blindness makes all the difference in whether or not they survive or starve,” said Dr. Ndume.

The Lions Humanitarian Award, the association’s highest honor, is given to an individual or an organization with exemplary humanitarian efforts and comes with a Lions Clubs International Foundation grant for up to US$250,000 to a charitable organization for continuing humanitarian activities. Dr. Ndume joins a distinguished list of prior recipients, including Mother Teresa, former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and Nobel Peace Prize winner Dr. Denis Mukwege.

“I am truly honored to receive the Lions Humanitarian Award,” said Dr. Ndume. “My biggest goal in life is to end preventable blindness 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.”