With these words in his book War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy once again demonstrates his attachment to children. Did you know that until his last breath, the famous Russian writer worked for their well-being? From the age of 21 year, Tolstoy concretized this dedication by the opening of the School n°2 in Yasnaya Polyana also called “the luminous glade”. The children were never punished and their education was done by increasing their independence.
Today, it is another exemplary person who also gives body and soul for the well-being of children in Russia that we would like to tell you about: Debbie Deegan, Founderof « To Children With Love ».
Touched by Debbie’s dedication, whom we met in January 2020, and because of our respective ties to Ireland and Russia, we decided through our trip to support this amazing initiative. We asked Debbie a few questions:
How did you start to work with Russian orphanages?
D.D. : I first visited an orphanage in Russia in 1998. The conditions were so shocking, I had to do something. What started out as a fundraiser to help, developed into the founding of the charity ‘To Russia With Love’, since renamed ‘To Children With Love’ five years ago. Over the years, we have vastly improved living conditions and quality of life for the children, developing programmes to support and educate them and most importantly to make them feel loved, secure and cared for.
How many Russian orphanages do you work with?
D.D. : Russia is working hard to reduce the number of orphanages there. At one point, we worked with 46 orphanages. Now we work with one large orphanage, which is an amalgamation of many provincial orphanages.
What is the next project in Russia you are working on?
D.D. : Our work with the orphanage is an ongoing project. Currently we are focussing on the children who have left the orphanage for good (our Leavers) to now go to hostels and colleges and we are supporting them in that transition during this first rocky year. We are working towards the ultimate goal of a world with no orphanages, but in the meantime, we are supporting the children currently in orphanages and those who have left to begin their adult lives.
Picture of a young girl who left the orphanage this year to settle in a hostel with home appliances provided by the association.
So if you also want to give these children a little help, it’s easy, click on the link below to donate: