The Opera Cardinal Ferrari (OCF), founded in Milan in 1921 and since 1950 operational in Via Boeri, takes care of the daytime hospitality of adults and the elderly in severe socio-economic hardship and with chronic conditions, mostly homeless. The services offered to the ‘Carissimi’ (the dearest ones), as Cardinal Ferrari called them, are: breakfast, lunch, showers, wardrobe, library but also medical clinic, barber, hairdresser, pedicure.

With the collaboration of numerous volunteers, socialisation activities and the recovery of residual abilities are also implemented: drawing, Italian, computer, etc. courses. The socio-educational team, through interviews and personal interactions, supports, monitors and accompanies the Carissimi on their difficult journey in life. Since 2000, there is a small temporary night accommodation space, inside the Cielo Stellato Pavilion, for six homeless women who attend OCF day centre.

The homeless condition and the state of severe marginalisation in which many Carissimi find themselves, sometimes accompanied by a low cultural level, especially in the field of health prevention, are both a risk factor, but also a challenge that OCF faces daily. The certainty of satisfying primary needs, every day for 364 days a year, along with the constant work of the social worker and the educator in developing meaningful relationships with the Carissimi, make it possible to address the complexity of individual situations and make the "Treat, understand and prevent. Help for the chronic conditions of poverty” project feasible.

The people who are assisted daily find themselves in conditions of extreme material and relational poverty, lacking sufficient financial resources to lead a decent life. OCF provides an answer to primary needs but also opportunities to develop new meaningful relationships.

With the contribution of Reale Foundation, we would like to promote activities that increase self-awareness and taking care of one's health in the broadest sense of the term, as defined by the WHO: "Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not the mere absence of sickness or infirmity".


The goal of the "Treat, understand and prevent. Help for the chronic conditions of poverty” module is therefore to transmit the message that prevention is a positive attitude of self-care, which can also be pursued by those who live in situations of extreme hardship: the OCF Day Centre allows primary needs to be satisfied and people to be accompanied in improving their lifestyle.

OCF provides a number of opportunities to improve the situations of fragility of its guests: hot meals, comfortable environments, social activities and a medical clinic. The socio-educational team (educator and social worker) coordinates the services and activities and is the point of reference for the Carissimi for all their needs. Through the specific activities of this project, the aim is to reach a further goal: the prevention of diseases as a fundamental part of self-care.

It is important to increase self-awareness and the limits of one's body, as well as to provide adequate information on prevention attitudes and methods (periodic check-ups, adequate nutrition, etc.). To avoid, as far as possible, further worsening of health conditions, it is equally important to "contain" the condition, also for example using aerosol therapy. Finally, with the help of the social worker, the aim is to facilitate access to the National Health Service, for example for the issue of health cards and the choice of general practitioner.

Since its inception, the OCF Day Centre has activated an outpatient service with the constant and weekly commitment of volunteer doctors, so that the Carissimi can find adequate answers, also to their health problems, and obtain the medication they need free of charge.


Project name: Opera solidarity, feeding life. Treat, understand and prevent. Help for the chronic conditions of poverty.
Proposing organisation: Opera Cardinal Ferraris Non-Profit Association
Starting date: 01/10/2018
End date: 31/07/2019