Celim Bergamo ODV is an NGO (non-governmental organization of Christian inspiration) that operates in the field of International Cooperation in Africa, Latin America and Asia.

Celim Bergamo was founded in 1964 after a series of contacts with Celim Milano, founded in 1954. For several years the two organizations worked together creating “school camps” on Third World issues and International Cooperation. During these years, the work of Celim Bergamo took the form of a “missionary laity” and developed especially in Bolivia, Ecuador, Rwanda and Malawi. This period is characterized by a close relationship with the Diocesan Missionary Office whose Director, Don Pietro Ceribelli, was the charismatic leader of the Organization, the main reference for the choices of commitment and service and for the maturation of personal motivations.

In 1971 Celim Bergamo requests and obtains eligibility as an “International Volunteer Organization”and consequently becomes part of the Italian Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs). In 1972 Celim drafted his own Statute and in the same year he joined FOCSIV (Federation of the International Volunteering Organizations of Christian Inspiration). It then begins to operate in full autonomy.

The FOCSIV membership favors contacts with other Italian and foreign Organizations and promotes continuous reflection on volunteering and the implementation of projects.

Celim Bergamo ODV works alongside the populations of the South of the world in different fields: educational and professional training, health, agro-zootechnical, micro-credit and human rights. Its volunteers share the committment to a more just and responsible world.

Christian identity is the deepest motivation for our commitment to a future in which relations between men and States are inspired by the values ​​of brotherhood and solidarity.

Volunteering is based on the belief that being free is a value and that sharing cannot become an opportunity for profit. In this way, our management costs are minimal and we are able to use all the funds we raise for our development projects.

The intervention criteria are drawn from the elaboration of the experience of international voluntary service on the themes of development and International Cooperation and from the documents of the “Social Doctrine of the Church”.

Each project, conceived as a bilateral consultation, implies for its realization a full co-responsibility between Celim Bergamo ODV and the partners, an involvement of the local authorities and the communities influenced by the project.

Celim Bergamo ODV has also chosen not to deal with emergency situations, but to intervene in medium and long-term projects in order to walk along with the communities involved and support their self-centered development, respecting history and culture locals. Being a Christian organization of international volunteering service today and engaging in international development cooperation means taking on as a priority the commitment to peace, justice, human promotion and solidarity for the peoples of the southern hemisphere.

A development project constitutes the encounter between two stories and translates into living together the responsibilities of a journey according to the roles of the different actors. It is not a philanthropic response to generic needs identified in an office in Italy, it is instead support for efforts that the populations are already carrying out: it is supporting and collaborating with a perspective of self-promotion and mutual transformation.

Cooperating for Celim Bergamo ODV means promoting the authentic values ​​of each community by orienting its activities towards the needs of the populations and integrating education in life, production and culture. It is participating in the elaboration of the development plans of the countries in which it operates, it is to initiate processes of autonomy on a financial, organizational and management level and to build associative coordination networks.


Our work develops on three fronts:

1. International, which includes the study of cooperation projects, training, sending volunteers and supporting them during the implementation of the projects.

2. National, in association with FOCSIV we collaborate with other NGOs in the implementation of common projects concerning development education, intercultural education and citizenship education.

3. Local, which sees us engaged in information and training activities in the city, in the various municipalities of the province, and in raising awareness and collaboration with immigrant associations, the Missionary Office, groups and associations of our Diocese.