Andrea Riccardi visits the “Little Girls’ Home” of Sant'Egidio in Blantyre – MalawiMalawiAndrea Riccardi
A shelter home for abandoned girls and victims of child trafficking
The first stop of Andrea Riccardi's visit to Malawi, where he is to meet the Community of Sant'Egidio, was the 'Little Girls' home' in Blantyre.
The home, which opened six months ago, welcomes girls between 12 and 14 years of age who lived on the street, abandoned and sometimes sold by traffickers or by their own families, driven by poverty and therefore abused and exploited.
The phenomenon of girls on the street is on the rise in Malawi. The government's Human Rights Commission has reported that trafficking of minors has been increasing over the last three months. It is linked to the economic crisis aggravated by the war in Ukraine, which has caused living costs to rise further. A huge tragedy in an already poor land: the United Nations estimates that over the next year , out of 19 million inhabitants, about 9 are at risk of hunger.
Sant'Egidio has been taking care of the street children for years, distributing food, offering them showers and medical care, taking care of their integration in school or vocational training. In the recently opened house, which will accommodate 16 girls, the current guests have all been enrolled in school, the first stage of their integration into the social context.
During the visit, Andrea Riccardi stayed for a long time to talk to the young guests and operators, listened to their stories and expressed the joy and hope that the Community, which has become a mother and a family for each of them, places in them.