To Russia With Love is an Irish registered charity which was founded by Dublin woman Debbie Deegan in 1998. Debbie first travelled to Russia after adopting a seven year old girl from an orphanage there. She went to search for the children her daughter had spent the first seven years of her life with and left behind. What Debbie found was over 200 children, in an old and run down orphanage in the middle of a forest in Russia. It was minus 30 degrees, there was no heating, and the children were suffering from a severe lack of love. Debbie made a promise to these children that she would be back to help and 17 years and over 400 trips later she is still there.
To Russia With Love believe that children without parents should have the same rights and opportunities as any other child. They help orphaned and abandoned children build trust and self esteem, allowing them to reach their full potential and become strong adults, successful parents, thus breaking the cycle of abandonment and in turn go forward as role models in society.
Now working in over 10 regions of Russia, the charity has transformed the lives of thousands of orphaned and abandoned Russian children through providing programmes of care that teach life skills for a brighter future and provide the children under their wings with improved living conditions, healthcare and education.
The children that To Russia With Love have supported have surpassed the national statistics of Russia. The charity have a huge success rate, and almost all of their children enter colleges and universities. Since the foundation of the charity they have had some of their children qualify as doctors, lawyers, IT technicians, etc. National statistics show that the majority of the children who are raised in Russian Institutions end up either in prisons, in prostitution, trafficked, etc. To Russia With Love Children are different.
Debbie has said on many occasions that the To Russia With Love team could not have achieved as much as they have without the support of the Russian Administration, who have welcomed the Irish from the very start, and stood by their side when implementing changes in institutions.