Irish charity, To Russia with Love, which gives a home, education and love to orphaned and abandoned children in Russia, is appealing to the people of Tipperary to support the charity.
Founder of ‘To Russia with Love’, Debbie Deegan has launched her first book, also titled ‘To Russia with Love’, sharing her extraordinary experiences helping over 5,000 orphans over the past 14 years. With all proceeds going directly to help Russian orphans, the book is also a last ditch attempt to save the charity, which has been battling, like most Irish charities, against a dramatic decline in donations.
With a foreword written by acclaimed Irish author and patron of the charity, Marian Keyes, the book details Debbie’s extraordinary struggles and adventures since taking in a Russian orphan (Zina) for a two week holiday in 1996 and the battle for her subsequent adoption; to founding To Russia with Love in 1998 from her home in Clontarf to help the thousands of Russian orphans in the region where Zina came from who Debbie just couldn’t leave behind.
Debbie tells many tear-jerking stories - of orphans waiting for parents who never come; the conditions some of the orphans she meets are living in; one murder; threats from international criminals… and being the particular hero of one little girl called Sasha, whose bullies Debbie confronted. Sasha would never leave Debbie’s side on visits and told Debbie she was the first person to ever give her a kiss (Sasha was nine at the time).
“I would appeal to people in Tipperary to buy the book or make a donation to allow us keep helping the lives of abandoned children in remote Russia. The help from Irish people has been incredible and I would like to thank all our supporters from the bottom of my heart” said Debbie Deegan.
Many children living in Russian orphanages are ‘social orphans’ who have been separated from their parents by poverty, crime, addiction or neglect.
Upon leaving orphanages in Russia, orphans are typically left to fend for themselves and are vulnerable to trafficking, prostitution, drugs and crime. In response, To Russia with Love founded its ‘Final Steps’ programme supporting those who leave the orphanages into third level education and the first child from a Russian orphanage ever to attend university was helped by To Russia with Love. The charity’s children are now studying business, medicine and law and To Russia with Love also provides housing programmes for older children who still require support.
“What started as children are now young adults. They are still without parents and although their needs are different our help is still vital at this stage” said Debbie.
‘To Russia with Love’ is available now from all good book stores, in e-book format or through www.torussiawithlove.ie