Source of this article: Lëtzebuerger Journal (Luxembourg), Tuesday, October 6, 2020,
Get the newspaper (issue from 6th October) here https://www.lord.lu/publication/letzebuerger-journal.html#.X3xciWj7QuW
Author of this article: Cordelia Chaton, Lëtzebuerger Journal
‘A big impact’
Vicki Sorg, charity ambassador of PM-International intends to support soon 10,000 children
Vicki Sorg is not only Director Promotion at PM-International, but also a dedicated ambassador for the charitable commitment of the globally active group based in Schengen. PM-International distributes nutritional supplements and cosmetics worldwide through direct sales. The company, which has been growing strongly for years, took up the cause of doing something for children at an early stage and is now the largest corporate sponsor of the relief, development, and advocacy organization World Vision. This is very close to the heart of Vicki Sorg, who herself is a mother of two children. In an interview, she explains why sales growth is so important for her charity commitment and what’s coming next.
Ms. Sorg, do you spend more time with your own children than with those you help?
Vicki Sorg I am of course a role model for my children. Since our company is in direct sales, it is also possible to take care of a family at the same time. We always have time for the children, that’s a priority. But my daughter is now in college and my son is a teenager, so their needs are a bit different. Due to the corona virus crisis, my travel activities as a charity person have of course changed a lot. Before that, I used to travel several times a year to see the projects on site. I usually travel a lot, because then I am at the heart of the action and I have a much better feeling for the projects. Being on site is simply something completely different.
In many of the photos you can be seen in a warm embrace with the children.
Sorg There are very clear rules: If the children approach you on their own initiative, then that is allowed, otherwise it’s not. For many children, I am the first white or blonde or even the first foreigner they see. There are reactions ranging from curiosity to fear, everything is possible. But very often a personal contact develops.
You work together with the aid organization World Vision. Why with this one of all organizations?
Sorg We have done some research and they are simply the most transparent. They have received several international awards for this. And what I think is the greatest: World Vision helps in the areas where others don’t. That is a completely different approach. These are projects that make a big difference.
PM-International has so far helped around 2,300 children worldwide. What else do you want to achieve?
Sorg 2,300 is already a large number, but this year we want to help 500 more children, and that is in Zimbabwe. A completely new project is starting there. World Vision then has to explain what hygiene is for and why education and medicine are a good thing. The project runs for 15 years. In Zimbabwe there are big problems with drinking water and drought. The new project will dig water holes to give people access to water. By the way, this is typical for the projects: After all, it is not only the children who benefit, but the whole community. We pay 30 euros per child and month. This is not just for one child. But the bottom line is that an average of four children actually benefit. World Vision never says to a child: You are not in the program and therefore you do not receive any support. It is always a concept for an area.
What impact does this program have on your employees?
Sorg It’s a very big effect, I think, because every time we post an action or report on it, we get a lot of feedback. We have a monthly Business Academy because our distribution partners and employees worldwide are all involved in direct sales. There we show films about the World Vision projects. The employees want to know what’s going on. They are proud to work for a company that is committed to children and social issues.
Does World Vision look for special projects with a focus on nutrition for PM-International?
Sure, there are two among our worldwide aid programs where this is the case. One is in India and involves 812 children, the other is in Peru and involves more than 500 children. However, this did not come about at our request, but because it fitted into World Vision’s plans. All other projects have a holistic approach. There it is equally about nutrition, education, hygiene and the like.
The help of PM International depends on growth and turnover. What happens when this drops?
Sorg We have a very conservative strategy and in view of the current development of the company, I don’t expect this. Our goal is to support another 5,000 children over the next three years. We have reserves to be able to continue our help.
Would you have a favorite or desired project?
Sorg 2019 Rolf (editor’s note: CEO of PM International and her husband) and I were in Peru and noticed that many children drop out of the program after only six years for various reasons. This shocked us. Therefore we are thinking about how we can support the children. We have decided that we will first include in the programs those who were dropped before. Furthermore, I am happy about two projects that are still pending: The farm-to-fork project, which involves acacia trees in the Sahel zone, whose harvest we use for our products. This is running outside of World Vision. It could be a win-win project. The challenge is quality and production at the site. We are already looking for other projects in this area.
It is not only children in Peru and Zimbabwe who need support. Also in Luxembourg every fifth child is threatened by poverty. Are you considering helping here?
Sorg We have been helping selectively so far. Here in Schengen, where PM-International is based, we support the local soccer team and the rowing team. One thing is clear: we don’t want to see children suffering, neither here nor anywhere else. If local organizations approach us, we are open to them. Otherwise we concentrate on our projects with World Vision. Our long-term goal is to help 10,000 children. It is important to know that not only the children benefit. With 5,000 children receiving aid, 700,000 people actually benefit.