Take Two for Clontarf Housewife and Charity Founder as Debbie Deegan recieves IMAGE Magazine ‘Social Entrepreneur’ of the Year Award

Clontarf housewife and founder of Irish charity To Russia With Love Debbie Deegan has received the 2014 IMAGE Magazine ‘Social Entrepreneur of the Year’ Award. Founded in 1998, To Russia With Love has dramatically changed the lives of thousands of abandoned and orphaned children in one of Russia’s most desolate regions.

The Clontarf based woman spearheads the work of the charity ensuring that the children under their wings of love are cared and receive education, healthcare and a safe ‘home’ environment. Just one month ago the mother of three received a ‘Social Entrepreneur of the Year’ Award from Women Mean Business. The awards come in a year, that Debbie describes as their “most crippling year ever financially” with programmes of care in Russia having to be stripped back.

Debbie Deegan, founder of ‘To Russia With Love’ explains “To have been shortlisted among such a list of amazing women was incredible. I’m extremely humbled and honoured to have received the IMAGE ‘Social Entrepreneur of the Year’ award. I do not look at this as recognition for my work but as recognition for the small and intimate team of people behind the scenes who are involved in transforming the lives of children in Russia.”

“It is difficult to try and impart the importance of supporting charities like ours who work abroad to the Irish public. To us, it does not matter that the children are in Russia because there is just one place they live and that is in our hearts. The reality is, they depend on the generosity of the Irish people and I believe they deserve every opportunity and chance possible so that negative cycles and patterns can be broken. We will continue to beat our drum to maintain and improve our work there.”

Now in its eighth year, the IMAGE Businesswoman of the Year Awards aims to recognise the inspirational Irish women who continue to shine in the business world, regardless of economic climate or the challenges they face. Winners of an IMAGE award join an impressive roll call that includes some of Ireland’s leading businesswomen.

To Russia With Love was founded by Clontarf woman Debbie Deegan in 1998 after she adopted a little girl from the orphanage. So moved by the bleak conditions that the children in the Russia orphanage lived in, Debbie rallied family and friends to help her set up the charity which has to date transformed the lives of thousands of abandoned and orphaned Russia children. The charity now offers its programmes of care in many orphanages across Russia teaching life skills for a brighter future and providing children with improved living conditions, healthcare and education.

The charity recently released a book detailing the stories of abandoned and orphaned children they have helped ‘To Russia With Love, The Children’s Stories’ is available at or from their ‘With Love’ Charity Shop in Clontarf. The charity will also provide a special gift wrapping service for those who order the book on-line making it an ideal Christmas gift.

To donate to ‘To Russia With Love’ please text HUG to 50300 or visit