Omoakhuana Anthonia once remarked that, “The greatest purpose in life, the greatest achievement one could ever have in life, the greatest satisfaction one could ever get in life can only be found in the service of others.” This is the case with our woman crush Wednesday today, Dr Helena Ndume a Namibian ophthalmologist who has dedicated her life to restoring the sight of over 35 000 people in Namibia free of charge. Let’s meet Dr Ndume.
Dr Ndume, born in Tsumeb, Oshikoto Region is an internationally renowned humanitarian who has dedicated her life to treating the blind and those with low vision after witnessing civil unrest in her homeland.
When she was 15 she went to Zambia, joining the liberation movement which led to Namibia’s independence.
She completed her Secondary school in Gambia, although her desire was to become a fashion designer, she was sent to Germany in 1989 for medical school. According to her curriculum vitae, she received her PhD in 1989 from the University of Leipzig, she also specialised in ophthalmology at the University of Saarland. She spent part of her field studies in Tamil Nadu, India, where she participated in outreach services in eye care for the first time. She the joined SEE International’s roster of over 600 volunteer eye surgeons in 1995.
In an Interview with Cable News Network in 2011, Dr Ndume said “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.”
In 2004, the Namibian government honoured her as a Grand Commander of the Order of Namibia, First Class. In June 2015, she was the first awardee of the United Nations Nelson Mandela prize alongside Jorge Fernando Branco Sampaio of Portugal. Last month she was awarded the New African Woman award for Women in Health, Science and Technology. These are just some of the few awards she bags.
We say to Dr Ndume, may your light continue to shine and may you continue giving for the betterment of the continent, more importantly may this gift be imparted to other young women.