Italy. Honour of the Italian Republic to Efrem Fumagalli of COOPI
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03-03-2023 | di COOPI

Italy. Honour of the Italian Republic to Efrem Fumagalli of COOPI

At the beginning of February, Efrem Fumagalli, Head of the Development and Management Office of COOPI-Cooperazione Internazionale, received, together with his wife Samantha Villa, the Honour of Officer of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic for having founded the Cascina San Vincenzo Association. The couple received the award: 'For having founded an association that brings families together and offers services and workshops aimed at creating pathways to autonomy for children affected by autism spectrum disorders'.

Efrem and Samantha, having received the diagnosis of autism for their son, and not finding spaces suited to his needs, decided to devise services, workshops and paths to accompany these children towards autonomy. The work, carried out with the help of other families, was built around Cascina San Vincenzo, a place received from Caritas in the Monza-Brianza area, which made it possible, in 2008, to turn what seemed to be only a dream into reality. The experience of the Cascina San Vincenzo Association is now more than 15 years old and continues to welcome boys and girls with autism spectrum disorders and their families. 

"There are many who deserve to be rewarded: all the fathers and mothers who suffer seeing the difficulties of their autistic children and who struggle to try to ensure their future".

In their open letter of 5 February, published on the association's website, Efrem and Samantha emphasise the importance of the community that has been created around the Cascina S. Vincenzo experience over the years:

"Of course, we have done as much as we could, but the Cascina S. Vincenzo experience today would not be what it is if it had lacked the contribution and work of the many people who for a little or a lot of time, by volunteer work or profession, with sympathy, patience and availability have been close to us over these years...So we are excited and happy for this recognition that is actually for all of us."

The honours ceremony will take place at the Quirinale Palace on 24 March 2023 at 11.30 am. 

Efrem, after 3 years in Bolivia as a volunteer and 10 years in Italy as head of environmental geology (at the ASL of the Province of Como), joined COOPI in 1996, holding numerous positions over the years: Area manager for the countries of the English-speaking area of Africa, the Middle East and Asia; head of the Activities Office in Italy; Head of the Emergency Office; Head of the Control and Quality Office, which later became Control, Monitoring and Audit. He currently heads the Development and Management Office, which is responsible for ensuring the administrative quality and compliance of projects with donor rules, through management control and internal audits.

The entire organisation congratulates Efrem and his wife Samantha on this prestigious award, which is the result of the great work they have done and continue to do with the Cascina S. Vincenzo Association.