Andrea Riccardi's visit to Ukraine has moved eastwards, to the Kiev region.
The destruction and horrors of war are evident in Irpin' and Bucha, towns near the capital that were hard hit at the outbreak of the conflict.
Andrea Riccardi, together with some representatives of the Ukrainian Communities of Sant'Egidio, visited the memorial site of the victims of violence in Bucha and laid a wreath of flowers.
The Kiev Community started a school of peace in Irpin in the summer 2022 to give children, who had lived through terrible experiences, the chance to play and smile again and rediscover their lost childhood.
An assembly was then held in Kiev, attended by around 160 people of the Community. Many were young people, but also numerous adults, Kievians and displaced persons from the worst war-affected regions. Those who were helped started to help others, joining the Community in its commitment of solidarity and closeness to the refugees.
It was an opportunity to underline the unity of the Community, which has never left the Ukrainians alone, supporting them with prayer and a large humanitarian aid programme.
Some told that - with the help and support of the Community - they decided to continue distributing food to the homeless in Kiev even during the dramatic hours of the bombings. They all told how the aid distribution centres are places where hope is first restored through welcome, affection and integration. It is amazing that Sant'Egidio has become an extended family where everyone can find a place.
The Youth for Peace recounted their encounter with war-scarred children, sad, with no words or smiles. These children, in the Peace Schools in Irpin' and in Kiev, surrounded by affection, have rediscovered their childhood that seemed lost. This gives strength to the young people who understand that when confronted with war, it is not powerlessness that has the last word, rather, in the Community, the choices of each person can make a difference and change people's lives.