On Friday 13 December, the first National Congress of the Youth for Peace of the Community of Sant'Egidio in Malawi was held in Blantyre on the subject "Only love can change the world", which brought together more than 1,800 youth from different districts of the country.
Andrea Riccardi, addressing the participants, said that the Youth for Peace Movement is a great source of love and hope for Malawi. Owen, one of the representatives of Youth for Peace, told how the encounter and friendship with the elderly has freed him and many of his peers from prejudices. Violet, a 16-year-old student, reiterated the importance of continuing the fight against the death penalty and of committing to building a peaceful world without violence. Everyone was addressed the invitation to be a force of peaceful change for the country.
The day before in Blantyre the first Family Home for the elderly of the Community of Sant'Egidio was inaugurated in Malawi. The house will accommodate 3 old women.
The Home was inaugurated in the presence of the Minister for disabilities and for the elderly, who stressed the importance of the service to the elderly that the Community performs in the country. Two sisters, Esme and Dorothy, guests of the house, welcomed with pride Andrea Riccardi and the other guests present in their new home.
Along with the home for the elderly, they also inaugurated, in the presence of the parish priest and the Traditional Authority, the construction of the headquarters of the Community in the village of Tchoda, which is about one hour from Blantyre. (in the photo, the laying of the first stone).
The inauguration of the construction was preceded by a meeting with the Community of Sant'Egidio of Tchoda (pictured below). Josef Pensulo, on behalf of the entire Community, told how the presence of Sant'Egidio constitutes an important solidarity network within the village, especially for children and the elderly, who are the most vulnerable and least protected people in the rural areas of the country.
Nevertheless in Malawi, despite the process of rapid urbanization, 80% of the population still lives in villages. For this reason, the attention to rural realities is crucial.
The last leg of this trip was the prison of Blantyre, where the community performs its service since 2005, with regular visits to the detainees made of friendship, discussions and distributions of basic necessities .
Particular attention is devoted to sick prisoners. We stopped to talk with each of them. Some of them have also told about the difficulties in obtaining adequate legal assistance, which is why the stay in prison often extends beyond the due date exacerbating the overcrowding of prisons.