"A small gesture can trigger a lot"
Investor Arno Huibers (67) has been providing people with moments of happiness for decades. As a clown or mime he likes to bring a bit of happiness to people, whether they are children, adults or people with dementia. But he is certainly not lacking in long-term vision either.
"In the places I go, I find it important to help people develop. In my work I do that by sharing my creativity and vision, and at PlusPlus by making a financial contribution." Arno explains that he is definitely not a financial guy. "Money can be a very beautiful thing though. The fact that at PlusPlus I can use it almost one-on-one for someone who is in a developmental phase, I think is wonderful. I think it's a big plus of PlusPlus that it strives for independence. Independence is a great thing."
Arno has his own little theater in Eindhoven. He is currently rehearsing his latest show 'homage to the clown', in honor of his 40th anniversary. "Theatre performances have always been my common thread. It is my core business, as they say in the business world. Not only in the Netherlands, but also far beyond, I have performed a lot. I don't need words to get a message across, that's what makes my profession so boundless."
Even though the clown is always central to his work, Arno is much more than that. He likes to make an impact by sharing his creativity and vision. Beautiful projects have emerged from this in the name of his foundation Clown and Comedy.
Arno was part of the foundation of the CliniClowns in the Netherlands and Romania. And since last year, 'Arno's Golden Clown Prize' has been established, intended to stimulate new initiatives that 'make a substantial contribution to the experience of joy for people with dementia or other illnesses'. "The intention is that I also transfer this fully to the MiMakkus Foundation, which I also founded. When an organization is running well, you have to have the courage to let it go."
Arno's vision aligns almost seamlessly with the vision of PlusPlus. "I think the big plus of PlusPlus is that they strive for independence. Giving money is not based on equality. The danger is that individuals and countries remain in the help mode. I have the same vision for my projects. I am good at starting projects. But in the end, everything must become independent. People have to be able to do without me. I see that reflected in PlusPlus as well. They are really focused on helping people develop themselves and their businesses."
The idea of making a big impact in a modest way appeals to Arno. "Recently, I went on a haphazard search in Romania for contacts from the old days when I went there a lot," he says. "I was in Bucharest just after the dictatorship and came into contact with a high-ranking physician, also a politician. I was allowed to give workshops to young psychologists in training. At that time they were only familiar with classical psychiatry; think white coats and sterile corridors. As a mime actor with a hand puppet I succeeded in making contact with people in a closed institution who were often drugged flat. I taught students to approach the people behind the illness.”
“I am grateful to see how people in Romania picked up my ideas and introduced creative therapy. I continue to be involved in the content, but I no longer play a role. The best part is when you can let go of something because your idea or your money has been used in a development phase.
At PlusPlus I like the fact that I can read the personal story behind a project. I have that personal interest, at the same time I see the big picture. You see a tsunami coming towards Europe. Let's distribute the capital of the western world better so that more people become independent. A small gesture can bring about a lot. Also in my clowning. For example, I always get tremendous joy from a performance where the interaction is amazing. I play for ages 1 to 113, hoping that my little drop here will produce a good glass of wine elsewhere, so to speak."