“I never thought in my life I could have a house like this”: the opening of a new house for the elderly in Balaka in Malawi

For many years Sant'Egidio has been visiting and helping the many elderly in the area of Balaka (Malawi), supporting them in their needs: food, health, home and other needs. Over time, the friendship between young people of the Community and the elderly created a a safety net around their lives, not only to meet their needs but also to protect them against the violence to which unfortunately they are subjected.

Balaka is a very rural area of Malawi, where the population lives mainly of agriculture. Young people, as soon as they can go to live in the city and the elderly remain alone and often live on alms or markets scraps. At times, accused of witchcraft for their longevity, they suffer from acts of violence, leading also to death.

Unfortunately, some of them end up living on the street. Sometimes with the rains their homes collapse, other times they are not able to pay a rent or are dispossessed of their home by the family members who take possession of it. The need for homes for them grows every day. Thanks to the legacy of an Italian elderly woman it was possible to build a beautiful three-bedroom family home, which will accommodate 5 people.

The joy of Lucy Malingamoyo and her husband of Mzunga and John for the new house was incredible. Lucy, 73 years old, had lost her home due to the heavy rains of last year and ended up sleeping under shelters on the street. She greeted the entrance to the new house saying: "I never thought in my life I could have a home like this and a family that loves me. May God bless you". The house of Balaka is the second family home for the elderly of Sant'Egidio, after that of Blantyre, in Malawi.

The inauguration took place on the occasion of the 5th World Day of the Poor, instituted by Pope Francis.