NEW ROCHELLE, NY — On the last Saturday morning in February 2016, Principal Carol Killebrew hosted 35 Ursuline middle school students and their mothers at our inaugural Mother/Daughter Book Club. They discussed the incredible, true story “I Will Always Write Back – How One Letter Changed Two Lives.”
This beautiful book shares the personal journey of Martin Ganda from Zimbabwe and Caitlin Alifirenka from Pennsylvania. Caitlin enjoyed a comfortable middle-class life; Martin’s family lives in one of Zimbabwe’s worst slums. Their pen-pal exchange as middle school students lead them to a lifelong friendship, forever transforming each of their lives for the better.
Students and their mothers were surprised when they arrived at school to see none other than co-author Martin Ganda standing in our Gabelli Library! He spoke with the delighted girls, and then joined in the book discussion. Principal Killebrew kicked off the conversation by asking how students would describe Mr. Ganda, after reading his story. A special highlight was when Mr. Ganda read an excerpt from the book to us.
Mr. Ganda said he was honored to be with our students and visit our beautiful school. He told the girls to be grateful for all of the opportunities they have in America, to continue to work hard in school, and to thank their parents for all they are able to do for them.
Mr. Ganda, himself, always worked hard at his studies. He came to the United States and earned two bachelor’s degrees, in mathematics and in economics, from Villanova University in 2007. In 2014, he received his MBA from the Fuqua School of Business. Today, he is passionate about social and economic empowerment in Africa through social development and leveraging the power of finance. Mr. Ganda is the President and Co-Founder of Seeds of Africa Fund, a nonprofit organization that works for the improvement of access to education for children in Zimbabwe.
Many students and parents warmly thanked Mr. Ganda for sharing his inspiring story and incredible life journey. We also thank him for generously taking photos with all the girls and signing their books.
The Ursuline School frequently hosts authors on campus to share about the writing process and inspire students.