In 1999, the television journalist Michael Kreitmeir started the LITTLE SMILE project in the mountains of Sri Lanka for neglected and traumatised children and war orphans. It provides the children with a loving home and gives them the chance of finding professional prospects by helping them to help themselves. Several projects have already been realised with the help of donations: among others, a pepper and rose plantation, a sewing school, a carpentry workshop and an Ayurveda training centre.
The children's village was not directly affected by the flood disaster in December 2004. However, the two LITTLE SMILE field offices on the east coast were completely destroyed. The team started to take in children from the disaster area and actively participated in the reconstruction of the coastal region. In the long term, LITTLE SMILE needs financial support in order to help children in Sri Lanka to help themselves. Hence the organisation is urgently in need of further donations.
The 'Little Smile Association', founded some time ago, soon started to plant spices, to provide the population with the first plants for cultivation and to support people in selling their products at a reasonable price. In the last few years, this initiative has grown into a handsome spice plantation where in addition to black and white pepper, cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, nutmeg, cloves and vanilla beans are now also offered, and to a large extent in fair trade quality. In 2009, the spice project was certified by IFAT (The International Fair Trade Association).
In addition to initial donations, AVO supports the spice project by providing advice and help in setting up the plantations and further processing of the produce, and above all by buying the harvested spices at a fair price. This is because LITTLE SMILE needs ongoing support in order to be able to help the children to help themselves in the long term.
All donations are used 100 per cent for the work on the ground, without deduction of any administrative costs. The team has been working on site for more than a decade and guarantees a transparent use of all funds. The aim is to provide effective long-term aid that offers needy children protection, a home and an education. You can find out more about the LITTLE SMILE project at www.littlesmile.com.
We have been investing in the health of our employees for many years. Several Health Days are held annually on AVO’s company premises. Every employee has the opportunity to be medically examined. In addition, every employee is able to make use of our external company doctor from the Osnabrück company medical centre. With the help of these preventive measures, we hope to keep our sickness rates at a low level.
Respecting and valuing employees and partners
At AVO, the interaction with customers, suppliers and employees is characterised by mutual appreciation and respect. We have mandated this mutual appreciation and formulated appropriate rules of behaviour in a Code of Conduct. The flat hierarchies at our company facilitate mutual communication.
The well-being of our employees is a central concern. In addition to health and safety benefits and the numerous additional social and monetary benefits, the personal development opportunities of each individual are important to us.
Social and community engagement
In accordance with our values as an owner-managed family business, we feel a special connection to our region. We take pleasure in assuming local responsibility for our fellow human beings through social and community involvement. Cooperative ventures with schools, the support of cultural and charitable offerings and thus the promotion of people in the region, especially in the community of Belm, are a top priority in this connection. In addition, there are some nationwide organisations that we are happy to support. The German Bone Marrow Donor Centre (DKMS) has been one of these for many years.
Health and safety
The safety of our employees in the workplace is of course very important to us. Accordingly we have a comprehensive occupational safety management system, with an external occupational safety officer. In addition, we participate annually in an external assessment procedure organised by the employers’ liability insurance association, with above average success. All occupational safety and health protection measures over and above the bare legal requirements are evaluated by the scheme.
Into the future with self-trained specialists... That is our motto at AVO. It is important to us to encourage our apprentices, as well as to challenge them in order for them to achieve the greatest possible satisfaction on their part. Annual Trainee Welcome Days are held to ensure a smooth start at the company. In addition to the theoretical lessons at the vocational school, in-house lessons are also given. Furthermore, we offer our trainees the opportunity of taking further training to become training ambassadors in order to promote the profession in schools.
With such an advanced training programme, it is not difficult for us to hold on to our apprentices. Accordingly in recent years 100% of our trainees have been offered a further employment contract after completing their training.