One woman was a veteran United Nations staffer who had devoted years to bearing witness to the tragedies from the conflicts in Iraq, Syria and Yemen.
The other was still starting her professional life, hoping for a job as an international aid worker after a series of unpaid internships.
At 43, Jessica Hyba was a mother of two who had begun a new posting in Mogadishu with the UN High Commission for Refugees after seven years in the Middle East.
Stéphanie Lacroix, 25 and just three years after graduating from university, was on her way to an environmental conference.
The two women, at different ends of a humanitarian aid career, were among 18 Canadians who died Sunday after Ethiopian Airlines flight crashed shortly after taking off from the capital, Addis Ababa.
One of the youngest victims of the Ethiopian Airlines crash was nine-month-old Canadian Rubi Pauls, who was on the way to Kenya from Ontario to meet her grandfather for the first time for Easter.
The grandfather, Quindos Karanja, said Rubi’s 60-year-old grandmother, Ann Wangui Karanja, was also on the flight.
So was Rubi’s 34-year-old mother, Carolyne Karanja, her seven-year-old brother Ryan, and her sister Kerri, who was four.
Rubi was the only Canadian citizen in the family.
Six members of a family from Brampton, Ont., Prerit Dixit, 43, and Kosha Vaidya, 37, their two daughters, Anushka Dixit and Ashka Dixit, and Ms. Vaidya’s parents, Pannagesh and Hansini Vaidya, died.
The victims also included five Canadian delegates on their way to the fourth session of the UN Environment Assembly, in Nairobi, and three employees of the UN refugee agency, including Ms. Hyba.
“UNHCR has lost dedicated humanitarians who tirelessly worked for the millions worldwide forced to flee wars and persecution,” the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, said.
Ms. Hyba spent seven years in Amman, Jordan, working successively for CARE, UNICEF and the UNHCR, making forays into refugee camps in Iraqi Kurdistan.
“She worked some of the worst duty stations on the planet,” said a friend, Kyle Matthews, the executive director of the Montreal Institute for Genocide and Human Rights Studies at Concordia University. “People sacrifice their personal lives to do this work … we have to remember that. What she did for humanity.”
Joshua Olszynko, a childhood friend from the days he and Ms. Hyba were growing up in the Ottawa area, said she was a loyal friend who kept in touch and returned yearly to Canada. The day before she boarded her flight, Ms. Hyba had been on the phone with Mr. Olszynko’s sister, Jessica Mackie.
“She was a very caring person. She lived in high-danger zones. She wanted that, she enjoyed it,” Mr. Olszynko said.
Ms. Hyba had two daughters, aged 9 and 12, from a marriage to a fellow UN staffer.
Also aboard was Ms. Lacroix, a project co-ordinator with the United Nations Association in Canada.
A Franco-Ontarian from Timmins, Ont., Ms. Lacroix wanted to emulate her mother and become a school teacher, but in Grade 11, an internship with Projet amour communautaire humanitarian mission changed her outlook. She earned an honours degree in international development at the University of Ottawa and did a series of volunteer internships in Botswana, Zimbabwe and Malawi. “She was confident she was going to make it through,” recalled her mother, Sylvie Lamarche Lacroix.
After working in Malawi for World University Service of Canada, Ms. Lacroix was hired last fall by the UN Association in Canada,
“I remember being struck at how young she was, yet so impressive and mature,” said Lauren Webber, a humanitarian worker who met her in Malawi.
Ms. Lacroix led a group that included Danielle Moore, Micah Messent and Angela Rehhorn.
Ms. Rehhorn, 24, who had a degree in marine biology from Dalhousie University, was a member of the Canadian Conservation Corps (CCC) at the Canadian Wildlife Federation, a program training future conservationists. “Angela was full of excitement and optimism of youth, just waiting to change the world. She was an inspiration,” said the federation’s chief executive, Rick Bates.
Mr. Messent, a member of the Red River Métis Nation in Manitoba, grew up in British Columbia’s Comox Valley. He worked for BC Parks and planned to go to law school.
Ms. Moore, 24, grew up in the Toronto area but graduated from Dalhousie University with a degree in marine biology and biological oceanography. She was most recently living in Winnipeg, teaching coding to students and working as a trail surveyor for the Winnipeg Trails Association.
She posted on Facebook on Saturday that she was “so excited” and “beyond privileged” to announce she had been selected to attend the conference in Nairobi.