A NORTHSIDE based charity has received a prestigious award for its work with orphans.
Nikolai Denin, Governor of Russia’s Bryansk region, recently presented the award to ‘To Russia With Love’ for its charitable work in the country.
After adopting a Russian orphan, Zina, now 23-years-old, Debbie Deegan, from Clontarf, set up ‘To Russia with Love’ in 1998 to help the thousands of neglected, undernourished and unloved Russian children.
The charity has helped over 5,000 orphans to date. Many of the children supported by the charity are ‘social orphans’ who have been separated from their parents by poverty, crime, addiction or neglect.
Despite the challenges of a very tough fundraising climate, ‘To Russia With Love’ still provides love, care and vital support services to orphaned and abandoned children in Bryansk, Western Russia.
Debbie, who also received a special medal of honour at the presentation, said they were very proud to have received the award.
“We are still looking after our children in very tough circumstances and despite having to scale back due to funding cuts, we work hard to ensure there is minimal impact on our children,” she stated.
“It is a real honour to receive this acknowledgment for our work.”
No stranger to awards, Debbie has received numerous accolades for her charitable work in Russia, the UK and Ireland.
However, this is the first award that the ‘To Russia With Love’ charity has received.
It is especially rewarding for the charity to have its work acknowledged by people of the Bryansk region, where they provide a home for orphaned and abandoned children, as well as third-level opportunities.
After 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’, in partnership with the Russian education system, runs its ‘Final Steps’ programme supporting those who leave the orphanages into third level education.
For more information on the charity, visit www.torussiawithlove.ie