Togo is a small country with just 8 million inhabitants. However, in recent years, it has become an essential crossroad for West Africa, which is trying to look to the future regardless of the many problems. This country has recently received a visit from Andrea Riccardi who met the several Communities of Sant'Egidio in an assembly and toured the poor places of Lomé with them. The different Communities are located in the capital Lomé and some cities in the country’s interior.

Firstly, Andrea Riccardi visited the elderly who suffer from isolation and prejudice. Some of them, who are situated in the Agoé neighborhood, live alone in houses without services. They told Andrea: “Friendship with the Community is protection and often a matter of survival.”

There is also a large garbage dump in the same area where many street children live. In particular, they make a living from that garbage. Hence, they do one of the most dangerous jobs when it comes to hygiene and health: collecting iron, taking it to those people who barely pay them, and receiving a few coins in return. In a corner of the neighborhood, some of the street kids’ friends, who are part of the Community, have offered a little house to shelter them at night and they plan to open another one in the coming months when sleeping outside becomes impossible due to the rainy season.

The meeting with Andrea Riccardi was a family celebration, which took place at the Sant'Egidio headquarters in Lomé, specifically in the Djdjolé neighborhood. The children told of their dreams, particularly their accessibility to participating in the apprenticeships -which in Togo are paid for - and practicing different kinds of jobs that can get them off the street. Moreover, the youngest told of their dream as well, which is mainly to go back to school or start it. They are helped by the "grands frères" (the "big brothers" of the Community).

Andrea Riccardi was even received by Togolese President Faure Gnassingbé during his visit to Lomé. It was an opportunity to talk about development and cohabitation in a region where, after the attacks that have shaken neighboring countries such as Côte d'Ivoire, Mali, and Burkina Faso, there is an increasing need to strengthen dialogue and the idea of "living together." These values have always been present in a region where Christianity, Islam, and traditional religions coexist.

The president presented Andrea Riccardi with an honor. It was a way to express his gratitude for the Community's role in mediation and peace between 2004 and 2005. This period is one of the most severe emergencies that the country has experienced due to political divisions and violence, especially since independence.