Introducing Start Up Princess Deborah Dushku Gardner

dscf0149.JPGDeborah Dushku Gardner and Heidi Glyn Barker co-founded One Heart Bulgaria, a non-profit organization for Bulgarian Orphans in March of 2003. Since then One Heart Bulgaria has become one of the most prominent charities in Bulgaria that supports orphans. I know this organization firsthand because I have been a Trustee since its origin, fundraised and volunteered a great deal, served on the Board, and have traveled with both Deborah and Heidi to assess orphanages. We first became dear friends when we served together in Bulgaria from 1994-95 as missionaries and became aquainted with the needs of the orphans and vowed to do something about it. We rejoice that the organization is still growing and reaching more and more children, however, there is still many more homes that need assistance. There are over 300 orphanages in Bulgaria and currently we are only sponsoring 12-14. If you are interested in sponsoring ($25 donations and up), there are many programs available that you can choose from. One of my favorites is “sponsor birthday parties” or “sponsor diapers.” Visit the website, to learn more.

Deborah is Executive Director over the organization and manages things with our Director, Nickolai Gavazov, who lives in Bulgaria and works with our Bulgarian staff there who support 12-14 homes with additional hands to hold babies, taking children on excursions, teaching art classes, and providing assistance with handicapped children. Deborah has been very involved in generating hundreds of sponsorships for special projects that have helped with health, nutrition, remodeling, clothing, hygeine, and life skills. Currently Deborah is working with an American sponsor to purchase a small bakery across the street from one of our teenage homes that will provide jobs as well as a small apartment for a few teens who graduate from high school and are no longer able to live in the orphanage. These are the kinds of programs One Heart Bulgaria is committed to supporting.

On the Personal Side: Deborah is an amazing mom entrepreneur who considers Bulgarian orphans her own…she is very passionate about improving their lives and setting them up to succeed in life. She inspires me with her continued dedication to One Heart Bulgaria, as she is a volunteer and does not receive any payment for her time and efforts. In fact, she fundraises for her own travel expenses or pays out of pocket so she can go back and forth to see the children she serves. What a beautiful sacrifice. One day as One Heart Bulgaria grows, I hope Deborah will take a stipend or a salary for her efforts, she certainly deserves it! Until then, blessings from heaven everyday!!!

To learn more about Deborah, please visit her profile page to the right of this site under Start Up Princess profiles,


  1. Nice theme, and it’s also good to see this great blog is getting better. Thank you, and good luck!

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