Legacy of young Stevenage doctor killed by Taliban lives on after charity closure

PUBLISHED: 07:00 07 September 2020

Doctor Karen Woo was 36 when she was fatally shot by Taliban while delivering aid in Afghanistan.

Doctor Karen Woo was 36 when she was fatally shot by Taliban while delivering aid in Afghanistan.

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A charity set up in memory of a young doctor killed by Taliban while delivering aid in Afghanistan has closed a decade after her death, but a memorial fund will ensure her legacy continues.

Karen Woo, who was born and grew up in Stevenage, was passionate about being a doctor and helping disadvantaged people.Karen Woo, who was born and grew up in Stevenage, was passionate about being a doctor and helping disadvantaged people.

Karen Woo, who grew up in Stevenage and attended The Barclay School, was shot dead in August 2010 while on a trip with charity International Assistance Mission to reach villagers in desperate need of medical help.

She was killed along with nine others of the mostly American team, two weeks before she was due to get married.

The Karen Woo Foundation was set up in the 36-year-old’s memory – a grant-giving charity focused on healthcare and education for Afghan women and children.

Karen’s mum, Lynn, is a trustee and said: “We have been looking back at what has been achieved over the 10 years. With generous donations, 42 children have been given life-changing operations; children and their mothers have started on the road to education; midwife assistants have been trained; medical supplies, wheelchairs and dental care provided; and disabled children have been given an increasingly stable and supportive environment.”

She was particularly passionate about helping disadvantaged children and women in Afghanistan.She was particularly passionate about helping disadvantaged children and women in Afghanistan.

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This was achieved in the form of 28 grants to nine charities.

But over the years fundraising has become increasingly difficult and in 2018 the KWF appealed for help to keep going.

Now the trustees have decided to incorporate the KWF into the Enabled Children’s Initiative – a charity supporting children in Afghanistan with disabilities, and running an orphanage called Window of Hope.

Karen's family and the trustees of the Karen Woo Foundation are determined to keep Karen's legacy alive.Karen's family and the trustees of the Karen Woo Foundation are determined to keep Karen's legacy alive.

Lynn explained: “ECI’s principles are in line with those of the KWF. Karen was very concerned for women and children’s plight in Afghanistan and particularly those from poorer and disadvantaged backgrounds.

“ECI has proposed the Karen Woo Memorial Fund, housed at ECI, and will create a webpage for this, providing information about Karen’s life and legacy, and how they are moving forward to honour her memory in their work. We are confident Karen’s legacy will live on in the important work the ECI does, and many lives will continue to be changed for the better.”

Email contact@karenwoofoundation.org with any queries, or visit enabledchildren.org for more about ECI.


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