The Lions Club International will receive a humanitarian award for her dedication to humanitarian service and medical contributions to the world.
Dr Helena Ndume is the Chief of Ophthalmology at Windhoek Central Hospital.
She is a partner to Surgical Eye Expeditions International (SEE) International, a nonprofit humanitarian organisation based in Santa Barbara, California, that provides accessible vision care services to underserved communities internationally and in the United States.
The SEE International, whose network of volunteers consists of more than 650 ophthalmologists and medical professionals from 80 different countries.
The Lions Humanitarian Award, the association’s highest honour, is given to an individual or an organisation with exemplary humanitarian efforts and comes with a Lions Clubs International Foundation grant for up to US$250,000 to a charitable organisation for continuing humanitarian activities.
Lions Clubs International is the largest service club organisation globally, with more than 1.4 million members in over 48,000 clubs serving in 200 countries and geographic areas around the globe.
Since 1917, Lions have strengthened local communities through hands-on service and humanitarian projects, and we extend our service impact through the generous support of our Lions Clubs International Foundation.
Dr Ndume will receive the 2022 Lions Humanitarian Award during the 104th Lions Clubs International Convention on 28 June 2022.
Dr Ndume has performed more than 35,000 eye surgeries free of charge in her home country of Namibia, Angola, and around the world.
She principally treats cataracts, glaucoma, and allergic conjunctivitis – restoring sight to thousands of individuals who would otherwise face enduring pain and hardship due to their condition.
She joins a distinguished list of prior recipients, including Mother Teresa, former US President Jimmy Carter and Nobel Peace Prize winner Dr Denis Mukwege.
Dr Ndume said she was truly honoured to receive the Lions Humanitarian Award.
“My biggest goal in life is to end preventable blindness and build a team of committed young people who will continue to fight against it, so even when I am not here, they will carry on that mission.
“For many people, living with preventable blindness makes all the difference in whether or not they survive or starve.
“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 Clubs International President Douglas X. Alexander said, “We are truly honoured to present this award to Dr Ndume, whose work is changing lives and making a profound impact on the world.
“Ever since Helen Keller challenged Lions to help preserve the precious gift of sight in 1925, Lions’ work continues in preventing avoidable blindness and improving the quality of life for blind or visually impaired people.”
In 2004 the Namibian government honoured her with a Grand Commander of the Order of Namibia, First Class award.
The United Nations General Assembly marked the 2015 Nelson Mandela International Day by awarding the first-ever UN Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela Prize to Dr Ndume and Portugal’s Jorge Fernando Branco Sampaio.
Nelson Mandela International Day is a global call to action for all citizens to take up the challenge and follow in the formidable footsteps of Madiba, a man who transformed his life, served his country and freed his people.
The Prize was designed to honour and recognise the “outstanding achievements” of two distinguished individuals, one female and one male, who would have dedicated their lives to the service to humanity, particularly in the promotion of reconciliation, social cohesion and community development.
In 2017, Dr Ndume also received the New African Woman Magazine awards that celebrate and honour African women who make remarkable contributions and influence change in their countries.
She came first ahead of 12 women from Mali, Morocco, and Zimbabwe.
The New African Woman Magazine said Dr Ndume won the award because of her pioneering work as an ophthalmologist and cataract surgeon.
She was also nominated for the Vision Excellence awards that recognise outstanding contributions to advocacy, innovation, programme implementation, institution-building and disease control during the twenty years of Vision 2020.
The International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness conducted the awards under the theme ‘The Right to Sight global initiative sought to promote: A world in which nobody is needlessly visually impaired, where those with unavoidable vision loss can achieve their full potential’.