Next October 22, the Association “Cuore Amico Fraternità Onlus” (www.cuoreamico.org) of Brescia, Italy, will confer the 32nd Cuore Amico Award to Father Cesare Busecchi, OCD, of the Veneto Province, in recognition of his long missionary work in Madagascar. Father Cesare asked to go to there in 1987. His first missionary experience was in the forest, where he experienced the generous welcome of the population and… the wildlife! He was then appointed parish priest in Itaosy, on the outskirts of Antananarivo, the capital of Madagascar: he was responsible for 9 churches for a population of 120,000 inhabitants, of which 40,000 were Catholics. Here, Father Cesare was confronted with the misery of those who had come from the countryside to the city in search of a better future.
80% of the population lives below the poverty line and, after Covid, the social situation has worsened. In particular, the number of children living on the streets in the capital has increased exponentially. It is precisely these children who will benefit from the Cuore Amico Award. Father Cesare’s dream is to help children and families who sleep in the tunnels of the capital. He already owns land where he would like to build a house for isolated children, small houses for families, a school, and somewhere to help these people grow crops.