On the night of 1 July 2016, at 21:20 local time five militants took hostages and opened fire on the Holey Artisan Bakery.
29 people were killed, including 20 hostages (18 foreigners and 2 locals), 2 police officers including the 5 gunmen.
The incident was the worst terrorist attack in Bangladesh’s history.
Following the incident the Deputy Country Director of Helen Keller International and San Antonio native, Carlo Nino discovered his friend and colleague Ms. Ishrat Akhond was among the fallen. In light of those events he contacted Farouk Hasan, a mutual friend and acquaintance of Ishrat’s and together they fashioned security doors from scratch in his workshop.
A patron of the arts Ms. Ishrat was a museum curator and was always surrounded by Bangladeshi luminaries, artists, poets and musicians. A fan of Leonard Cohen she had an infectious laugh and wanted happiness for everyone. A local rickshaw artist known in the area came forward and rendered the security doors in beautiful color representing many of the colorful landscapes Bangladesh has to offer. Her name was engraved on every door.
“It was my unspoken promise to Ishrat never to allow that to happen to our staff and colleagues.” Said Carlo Nino. “The gates made of steel and iron couldn’t possibly be stronger than the friendship she offered me and I won’t let her down. A part of me knows, heaven forbid, the moment of truth arrives… she’ll protect us. I really believe that.”
“I pass through those doors each day and I can’t help but look at her name and it reminds me of our commitments to protecting those we care about.”