Canadian optometrist killed in Kabul hotel attack
Sunday, March 23 2014 | 00 h 00 min | News
Roshan Thomas, a Vancouver optometrist, and Zeenab Kassam, a Calgary nurse, were among those killed in the hotel attack in Kabul, Afghanistan last Thursday.
In all, nine people, including two young children, were slain when four teenaged gunmen entered the heavily secured Serena Hotel, considered one of the safest spots in the Afghan capital.
A mother of three, Roshan Thomas, 60, had worked on humanitarian projects for the past decade as part of the Aga Khan Development Network. Mrs. Thomas and her husband, an ophthalmologist, had provided eye care in the country for five consecutive summers in the 1990s. She had also founded the Sparks Academy Kabul (Omid-e-Afghanistan, which translates as “Afghanistan’s hope” in the Dari language), a school attended by children from different ethnicities and religions.
“I spoke to her a few hours before the incident,” said her son, Karim Thomas, in an interview to the Globe and Mail. “She was doing the work that she loved. She had had some exciting things happen with the education program and she was in very good spirits.”
The education program founded by Mrs. Thomas began with 50 students in 2003 and has grown to 900 in six different centres today.