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June 2 2010

"Ageing in Africa: Sensitizing the Nations" - The first African International Conference on the situation of old people opens today in Lilongwe, Malawi. The Conference is organized by the Community of Sant'Egidio and by the Bingu Silver Grey Foundation

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For the first time Europeans and Africans speak about old people who are an increasing number and at risk of abandonment
This is a new phenomenon in a changing Africa

The 2nd  and 3rd of June 2010 in Lilongwe, the capital of Malawi, a major international conference on Ageing in Africa will be held. It is promoted by the Sant'Egidio Community and the President of the Republic of Malawi Bingu wa Mutarika, who is also the current President of the African Union.
The conference is entitled "Ageing in Africa, Sensitizing the Nations" and wants to analyze a new phenomenon in the continent: the Old people

It  is the first event of this kind between Europeans and Africans on this issue.

In contemporary Africa, old people, once rare and held in great esteem, have become numerous especially in urban areas. People live longer thanks to the introduction of more effective medical treatment as well as better hygiene and nutrition. However, the lengthening of life poses new challenges to African society, used to being very largely composed of young people. Older people means more need to care for and accompany them in a weak phase of their lives. This may cause rejection where the elderly are asked to step aside to make way for  young people. It is not unlike what has been happening for a long time in most advanced societies. Sometimes this phenomenon can result in violence against the elderly.
For some time the Communities of Sant'Egidio in Africa have begun to serve the elderly, especially the poor and the abandoned ones, in cities and decayed urban environemt. The conference in Malawi will analyze in depth the phenomenon and propose models of human coexistence between the generations in order to support the changes taking place in African society.
The conference will be opened by the President of the Community of Sant'Egidio Marco Impagliazzo and Malawi's President Bingu wa Mutarika.


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