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Grow & Flourish

magazine jan 2017 / #01magazine Grow and /Flourish

Sharing inspiring stories from the Grow & Flourish Foundation




A DOG FOR YOU p.08 2

WELCOME Don’t just be a human being. Be a human doing.

The Grow & Flourish concept is not for human “beings”. It only works for human doings. Human beings are passive; they simply exist by being and let life flow by. Human doings are active, take initiative and always look for a sense of purpose and connection.

Dear Human Doing, I am writing these words on the first day of January 2017. It is the beginning of a new year and also the beginning of the Grow & Flourish Foundation. In the first Grow & Flourish magazine we share some stories from our foundation, in the hope that they will inspire you. Our foundation comes out of the Grow & Flourish concept which offers companies an easy and natural way to make their business more successful, profitable, meaningful and fulfilling. This all started over ten years ago when as an international entrepreneur I realized that GROWTH had become something of a holy grail in modern, western business. Growth seems to be the single goal and focus for so many people, businesses and organisations; growth in revenue, growth in profit, growth in market share, growth in employees, growth in web visits, growth in market capitalization and so on. This modern ‘growth frenzy’ never seems to end. But have you ever asked yourself WHY? Why is growth that important? What is the true value and purpose of growth? For the answer we have to look at nature; we are all part of it. In nature a period of growth always leads to a period of flourishing. The essence of growth is always to flourish so that life can continue. The two are naturally bound together and are in an eternal cycle where each period of growth leads to a period of flourishing which again leads to growth and so on. In this way they are naturally connected but they are certainly not the same. There is a very different energy to each of them. Growth costs energy. It takes cash, manpower, time (and overtime), stress and strain. It is tiring to grow and it wears you out. Imagine the flower bulb of a beautiful Dutch tulip. When it starts growing a green shoot appears. While it grows it drains the entire flower bulb using up all the stored energy reserves until there is nothing left. Meantime there is just a long, green stalk that has no special meaning or beauty and is not even recognizable as a tulip. But when it starts flourishing, transformation happens. Suddenly the tulip has an identity and characteristics. It attracts bees and butterflies and it starts creating life energy which it stores in a new flower bulb. As it flourishes the tulip ensures its future growth. Nature always works like this and I believe it should be exactly the same for people and companies.

Grow & Flourish

We can measure growth in all kinds of economic terms. But how can a company flourish? There are many ways and these give a company a unique identity, culture, image, energy and vibe. It does not happen by accident and it does not happen when your only focus is growth. First and foremost it is a matter of awareness and a conscious choice. Just as a company can focus on a period of growth, it should make a conscious choice to interchange this with a period of flourishing. It will greatly improve the success of the company, and the energy of the people working for it. Through the Grow & Flourish Foundation we are passing this concept forward simply because the joy of giving is much greater than the joy of receiving. It just feels great to do some good. Why not join us? Grow & Flourish! Floris Koumans, Group Director The Orange Pearl Innovation Group 3


A village flourishes again

In a far away land lies a little village called Irodo. This land goes by the magical name of Madagascar, and it is a magical place. It is home to extraordinary animals that live only there and is surrounded by the Indian Ocean. The most special thing about Madagascar is its people. Although very poor, they are known for their generosity, hospitality, good nature, honesty, and happy spirit. Everywhere in Madagascar you feel welcome, and are treated with friendly respect.

Irodo is a remote little village in the north of Madagascar. Only some 250 people live here

Every child is treated the same at school

Nearby is a geological wonder called the Tsingy Rouge; strange rock formations, a natural work of art made by mother nature. For its uniqueness, it has UNESCO protection.

Tsingy Rouge - UNESCO heritage site Because it is far away, few people ever visit. But something special has happened in Irodo. Some years ago a Frenchman called Alain Gonon visited Irodo by accident, while touring on his motorbike. Alain had a special hobby that became his mission in life. Every year, through a small French organization, he would go to a poor country, select a village, and together with a group of people he would build a school for the children. He had done this already in various African countries. And this is exactly what happened in Irodo. Alain and his organization built the school.


A 4 kilometer walk everyday just to get water

A dry well causes problems for the village

Alain loved Madagascar and Irodo so much that he decided to stay. He sold his small construction company back in France, and left everything behind to start a new life. Alain lives not far from Irodo and visits every week. He buys everything that the school and children need. Every year he donates a full package of school materials to every pupil; each kid is treated equally. Alain’s family pay the teacher’s salary. Then bad luck hit Irodo. Because of climate change, the weather became very dry. This, combined with deforestation, led to the wells drying up. The village’s small water system, with a few taps connected to the wells, was left useless. This was a big problem.

The people need water to drink, cook and wash But they also need it for their small plots. On top of that, they need drinking water for the most important thing they possess; the special cows called zebu. Every year, zebus were dying of thirst. The only thing the villagers of Irodo could do is collect water from a little river that flows through a valley some four kilometres away.

Alain struggled with how to solve this problem. Then his best friend Izmael came up with a brilliant idea.

A long pipeline runs from the little river to the village well The little river runs through high ground, higher-up than the village itself. When the women walk to collect water, most of the path is slightly uphill. So, it should be possible to make a long pipeline from the little river to the village well, and let the water flow with gravity so that the well fills up whenever needed. This simple plan required relatively little money or maintenance; it did not need any machines or pumps. (In Irodo there is no electricity, and certainly no money for fuel; and in this area, it is hard to find machinery.) Alain and Izmael started work on the plan. They looked for the right path for the pipeline. They studied how to make a small dam in the river as an entrance to the pipeline. They measured how long and thick the pipeline should be, and then planned for each item they would need; the pipeline itself, the valves, the concrete for the dam, some tools to work with, and so on.


Construction begins for the dam

But most importantly of all, they needed permission and support. In the local culture, the holy men are very important. So the first thing was to present the plan to the holy men who guard the people’s culture, and safeguard respect for their traditions. They approved it. Then they had to get permission from the village chief and elders. These wise men of the village decide on everything that goes on. They also thought the pipeline was a very good idea. So they arranged a special ceremony to get the approval of the spirits and the village ancestors. After that, Alain and Izmael could talk about their plan to the whole village. Everyone was very happy. Everyone wanted to help, and everyone was prepared to work for free to make it happen.

The villagers of Irodo had hope again Hope that there would be water in the well. Hope that they could once again water their plots and that their zebus could drink. Hope that the endless walk up and down to the river would end and that they would not have to leave their village. Alain made all the calculations and checked for the best prices. To make the project a reality he estimated 5000 Euros for all the materials and their transportation. Alain would deliver the materials to the village himself, because it is hard to reach and no-one goes there. Alain would offer rice to everyone, because they would need something to eat. He had already spent his savings on the school, teachers, some medical care, and other contributions. So what to do? No one had any idea. And then came some proof. Proof that the old saying ‘what goes around comes around’ is true. Everything you need for a pipeline - no machines!


One day Alain had guests staying in a bungalow he rents out. A man and his family were there on an adventure holiday, and in the evening Alain and this man from Holland drank some rum together. They liked each other and talked all night and that is when Alain told Floris, which is the man’s name, about his special village. Of course, Floris was most interested to see all this. The next day they set out for a visit to the Tsingy Rouge and Irodo. They had lunch with people in the palm-leaf huts, met the village chief, and saw that, indeed, everything had dried out. Alain explained his plan and his problem to Floris and together they discussed the details.

Floris and his companies are on a mission to make this world a better place What Alain did not know is that Floris is a businessman who has developed the Grow and Flourish concept, and that he and his companies are on a mission to make this world a better place. They sponsor special projects in Holland and around the world; just to do some good and generate positive energy. To be responsible and make Profit with a Purpose. A few weeks later, back home in Delft, The Netherlands, Floris presented this project to his management team at the Orange Pearl Innovation Group. When the meeting finished, Floris gave Alain a call and told him that Orange Pearl and the Grow and Flourish foundation would provide all the money for the project, and that he should start as soon as possible. The following day Alain drove to Irodo to tell the people the good news. Everyone started laughing and dancing and it was an incredibly happy day of hope for the whole village. Alain got to work and ordered all the materials and the project began. The first job was to make a trail for the delivery of materials, and clear a path where the pipeline should be placed; they found the best route and, as predicted, it was four kilometres long. The villagers cleared the track and prepared the route for the pipeline. When the materials arrived, they had to be distributed along the route and everyone helped to carry them.

In the little river they made a small dam The dam was connected to a large natural filter. This was a simple concrete construction filled with gravel and sand. The water flows through the gravel and sand and is cleaned. The clean water goes through a large valve that can be opened and closed when needed. Past the valve, the water flows through the tubing all the way down to the village. There are several ‘stops’ for the water along the tubes. This is important so that the pressure does not build up too much. This can happen during the monsoon season when heavy rainfall is expected. Also, in the case of a disaster such as the tube breaking, the water can be controlled. The stops also make it possible to create a drinking place for the zebus and for the people working in the fields. Because the pipeline is black and the climate tropical the water in the tube gets quite hot; it can easily reach above 60 degrees and stay at this temperature for hours before the valves are opened and it flows to the well and the taps. This is important, because in this way almost all microorganisms in the water from the little river are killed.

So the water is cleaned of any pathogens that can cause health problems such as diarrhoea. When the tube reaches the village, the water flows into a large concrete filtering reservoir that overflows into the well and to the water points. In the reservoir the water loses its pressure so that it cannot damage anything or erode the well. This way, the well is filled constantly with fresh water and there are several water points around the village so that everyone has access to water not too far from each family’s hut. The Water for Irodo project was completed in a period of exactly three months. The original budget calculations proved sufficient and some money was even left over. This was allocated to the local school to pay for the teachers and the learning materials that the kids need. The project was officially opened just before Christmas by Alain. In the opening ceremony, everyone from the village was completely showered with fresh water; something that, for such a long time, was impossible in Irodo.

Alain and the people of Irodo celebrate

There was a huge traditional celebration party and the whole village joined in. Some zebus were sacrificed to please the spirits and ancestors. There was food for everyone. This was such an important and wonderful occasion.


In Africa, and certainly in Madagascar, things can be complicated and slow-moving. This is especially true when money is involved. Payments meet unexpected ‘barriers’, and ‘bureaucracy’ has to be ‘oiled’ in order for a project to succeed. To get around such obstacles, the Grow & Flourish foundation believes in four key principles: • the project and the budget must be very simple and easy to understand • the project must have a clear beginning and end within a few months’ time frame • the project should be supported by every person in the local community • the project should have one project leader who is 100% committed, with heart and soul Not one Euro of this project went into ‘oiling the system’. Not one Euro of the budget was wasted on mismanagement. Everyone involved in the project – Alain and the villagers – worked for free; the only compensation in the course of the work was three meals of rice a day. But there is one thing that each and everyone who joined in the project got out of it: the incredible joy of working together with the villagers on something so important; to see the smiles on the faces of the women and kids, who knew that the hard work of carrying water every day would soon be over.



A community comes together to support an important restoration project In the children’s cemetery in Delft there is a statue of a dog that watches over all the children buried there.

The statue is a symbol of comfort and protection, man’s best friend and trusted companion. This statue was in desperate need of renovation. So the project ‘A Dog for You’ was set up to raise the necessary funds for the restoration. The project would also ensure the making of a second dog statue, to be placed in a new extension to the cemetery. Despite the sadness of this necessary extension, the two dogs would watch over the children’s final resting places, creating an atmosphere of warmth and safety.

Meanwhile, at ‘The Force of Delft’ – an event which celebrates the achievements of the city’s entrepreneurs – Orange Pearl won the Public Award for giving a face to the city of Delft. We were honored that the public had voted for us. At Orange Pearl we care about making the world a better place. Founder Floris Koumans never misses an opportunity to follow his heart and do the right thing. When he took to the stage to collect the award he announced that Orange Pearl would donate 5,000 euro to the ‘A Dog for You’ project – half of the funding needed. Calling upon the influential audience, Floris asked everyone in the room to help and to take care of the rest of the donations. Needless to say, all the funds were in place the next day. The restoration could begin.


Floris and Alexia with the new statue

Christian’s clay model for the new statue


It is easy to get involved. Here’s how.. The restoration and new statue took just a year to complete. Artist Christian Wisse did a fine job with the challenging brief; the renovation needed a whole new statue. Christian made a cast of the existing statue, which was then filled with clay and fired in the kiln. For the second statue, Christian based her ideas on a photograph of a dog; and captured the dog’s beautiful, naturalistic expression in her surprisingly life-like sculpture. On a beautiful autumn Saturday in October 2016, Robert Lupker, initiator of the ‘A Dog for You’ project, revealed the restored statue. And Floris had the pleasure of unveiling the new statue, now watching over the children in this special place.

If you have an idea or initiative that you think the Grow and Flourish Foundation can help with, then please do get in touch with us. Maybe you know of a special project that really deserves our support? If you’d like to organize something within your own company and business network maybe we can help you. You can increase the success of the business you are in by applying the simple principles of the Grow & Flourish concept. Just DO it! We will send you the Letters to Human Doings in an easy format, sharing our experiences so that you can implement it yourself in your own way. Spread the word by sharing the Grow and Flourish concept and our foundation’s work with your network. Let’s create a worldwide Grow & Flourish community. If you or your company would like to make a donation to the Grow & Flourish Foundation to help us with our work, any amount will be gratefully received. Interested? Get in touch at

Fully restored - man’s best friend watches over the cemetry


Martijn’s amateur team, the Rotary Bikers

And the final amount raised.. wow!

MARTIJN’S AMAZING RIDE We salute a turbo-charged fundraising effort

In 2016 many of us had a great holiday lying on a beach, admiring a beautiful view, visiting family and friends, or just chilling out at home. But not Martijn Bast, our energetic operations director; he was busy getting ready for the ride of his life… The Home Ride is something very special: a unique, annual, long-distance team cycling event to raise funds for the Ronald MacDonald Houses. The houses provide essential accommodation for the families of seriously ill children who often live far away from the hospital where they’re treated. The Ronald MacDonald Houses support 5,214 families annually around the Netherlands. They offer a safe haven and make it possible for parents and family members to be close to their child; to share hugs, kisses and a bedtime story when they are most needed.

Experienced and amateur riders can take part in the Home Ride Teams bike in relay form across the Netherlands, day and night, covering 500 kilometers in 24 hours. The 2016 event started in Maastricht and had a 150km detour through Germany before finishing in Groningen. It is a demanding ride and it takes determination and perseverance, even for professional teams. As an active member of his local Rotary Club, Martijn decided it was time to get involved and support this wonderful charity. He proposed the idea of the Home


Ride to the Orange Pearl Innovation Group management team. It was exactly the kind of project that founder Floris Koumans had in mind when he set up the Grow and Flourish foundation. The management team agreed that BioClin, one of Orange Pearl’s companies, would sponsor both the Home Ride and Martijn. Martijn’s amateur team, the Rotary Bikers, battled against flat tyres, pitch-black darkness, heavy rain and high winds during their grueling ride. Most riders cover just a part of the challenging course, and rest once or twice along the way. Martijn decided to push himself to the limit. He completed the whole 500 kilometers without rest as a ‘full-rider’, quite an achievement for an amateur cyclist. The team’s fighting spirit and motivation paid off and they raised a remarkable 24,230 euros for their local Ronald MacDonald House in the Hague. This made them one of the top fundraising teams in 2016. In all, 62 teams and 883 riders took part, raising more than 835,000 euros. BioClin was proud to be a sponsor. The seventh Home Ride takes place on 24 and 25 June, 2017. The 24 hour, 500 kilometer journey from Utrecht to Utrecht will take the shape of a heart – following the route of the Ronald McDonald Houses that will benefit from the money raised.

BOTTLE CAPS FOR GUIDE DOGS The recycling initiative that just keeps on giving…

Bottle caps give creature comforts and environmental benefit. At Orange Pearl we like it when

friends and family tell us about the charitable projects that matter to them. Our colleague Jessica van Schie heard from a friend’s daughter about an initiative that really made a difference to people living with disability. Her friend told her a heart-warming story about a young disabled woman whose life had been transformed by her relationship with her guide dog. This was made possible because of a simple fundraising initiative organized by KNGF guide dogs. By collecting and recycling plastic bottle caps rather than throwing them away, it was possible to raise money to fund the training of special guide dogs. The collection, sorting and transporting of the bottle caps to the recycling plant is all carried out by volunteers. This means all proceeds go directly toward keeping and training the dogs. KNGF receives money for every kilo of bottle caps recycled.

thrown away in the general rubbish, which is burned or goes to landfill. Collecting and recycling bottle caps avoids this, so is positive for the environment as well. With this project – everybody wins. Jessica knew that Orange Pearl would want to get involved, so she organized for us to collect and deliver all our plastic bottle caps. We’re still doing it a year on. The initiative has been a national success story, and there are no plans to stop collecting. At the latest count in November 2016, over 90,000 kilos of plastic caps had been collected.

Everyone comes across plastic caps everyday – at home and at work. They’re on soda bottles, milk cartons, and many other types of container. Often they’re not recycled, and instead are


The Grow and Flourish Foundation has 3 key objectives Projects that simply do good We sponsor ‘projects that do good’; that make a clear, positive difference which is plain for anyone to see. Our main focus is simple, down-to-earth projects that have a clear start and finish with a maximum time frame of one year. Projects must have a transparent budget that does not exceed five figures. We sponsor these projects financially and by creating awareness in our network. We offer our coaching, help and advice where needed. A supportive network and transparent approach We offer a professional structure to help anyone in our network who comes up with a great idea or initiative that they want to support. We help them to organize the financing. We support them with communication to their own and also to our network. We help them to organize their project in the company they work for so that it can be supported by their colleagues and business network. As a foundation we make the transparent administration of donations and funding possible for them. All of this is free of charge. Letters to Human Doings We want to contribute to the success of companies by sharing the Grow & Flourish concept with them in a very direct and simple way that anyone in the organisation can understand and implement. We do this through ‘Letters to Human Doings’. Each letter addresses a specific topic and offers very clear and practical insights on how you can fit it into your business. All of this is for free. Why would we do that? Because we are convinced that it is a very easy way to contribute to business success both in economic and personal terms. We believe we can make the world a better place and that simply makes us feel good.

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Nothing in the world makes you feel as good as you do when you give. If you or your company would like to make a (tax deductible!) donation to the Grow & Flourish Foundation to help us with our work, any amount will be more than welcome. Grow & Flourish Foundation IBAN: NL19ABNA 052 11 36 113. 12

Grow and Flourish magazine  
Grow and Flourish magazine