Dorsa Ghandchi

Dorsa, a Daddy’s Girl

Dorsa Ghandchi was born on December 12, 2002. Her father was named Alireza. Her mother was called Faezeh.

Dorsa had a light walk. She filled the world with prosperity and happiness as soon as she came. She was a playful, beautiful girl who’d put her pen to the paper and just a few moments later, an amazing image would have appeared. Her painting tutors loved teaching her. She knew the secrets of the colors. She knew how to portray a wandering boy, or a fearful girl. Flowers, bridges, dolls. Dolls and cats.

Dorsa loved cats. She’d call herself “friend of cats.” In Tehran’s parks, she’d give food to cats without shelter, and sometimes, if she found a kitten and brought it home, she’d say: “Poor little thing. She’s lost her mom.” She’d then pick up her paper and quickly paint a black and white cat.

From grades one to three, she went to Hekmat School in Saadatabad, Tehran. In 2014, at the age of 11, she emigrated to Canada with her parents and her brother Parsa (Daniel). For the rest of primary and middle school, she went to Cummer Valley, MS. For high school, until grade 10, she was at Jean Vanier.

Dorsa’s talent for painting and animation was matched by her talent for music. She played the piano from the age eight and was soon a fixture in school recitals. Dorsa was into thinking. She thought when she played; when she listened to Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody every morning; whenever she saw a rough sleeper in downtown Toronto.

“Father! I can tell the stories of these people. I can paint them. And there should be another way, too.”

Dorsa was the most creative girl I knew. We went to concerts hand in hand. We danced at parties. When she played the piano, I’d sit in my chair in the corner and close my eyes. She grew up. She grew and grew, and now had an increasingly strong and determined personality: powerful, self-built, independent.

She was 11 when she first became interested in computer graphics and animation. She was 14 when she signed with Canadian and American companies and was already making money. She started a YouTube channel called “Maxie” that soon garnered 150,000 followers. When I hear the comments of her fans these days, they all speak of Dorsa’s passion, energy and genius; This genius was lost to the world and me, aboard Flight 752.

At school they gave her awards: as an entrepreneur, artist and mathematician.

“Daddy! I told you I could tell the story of these people. But now I know what I want to do. I told mom too. I want to study law. To give these people their rights, one has to study law…”

A day before her flight, Dorsa was worried about World War Three breaking out. She wrote to her friends about her fear of being bombarded. Her friend told her not to worry. “Your lavashak shall reach Toronto safely then,” Dorsa wrote back. She had previously made an animation that spoke bitterly of a terrible event. Of dolls that would fall. She planned to finish it after she reached Toronto. It was not to be.

Dorsa got on the plane with her mother Faezeh and her brother Parsa. She did not reach her destination, and was to leave a deep and bitter wound in her father’s life, in that of her community, of her friends, and of a nation which lost her and her talent.

Writer: Alireza Ghandchi (Father)
Translator: Arash Azizi
Editor: Hannah Somerville
With the support of

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