for a purpose: How it all started

With one guy who was in the right place at the right time

During the earthquake of April 2015, Jooren (D’jo) Surmont, a young Belgian traveler, was exploring Nepal together with a close friend, Nick Verdruye. He found himself in the center of Kathmandu at the time of the disaster. After the first shock he realized that he wanted to help as much as he could. Together with Nick and a group of fellow travelers, he built temporary shelters for the people of the lowest cast. After a while he went back to Belgium to collect money so that he could return and help Nepal.  There was work to do. A lot of work. With the support of friends and family he fund-raised money in all possible and original ways and he returned to Nepal, this time alone. He searched remote places to see where help was most needed.  The first project he got off the ground was the Burkey project:an earth-bag school building, situated in Burke in the Ramechhap district. In exactly 100 days, with the help of 85 volunteers from all over the world, he built an earthquake resistant school and toilets between April and July 2016.  The end of this project marked the start of our organization For A Purpose.

A group of men carry a person on a stretcher after a powerful earthquake caused serious damage in Kathmandu, Nepal, 25 April 2015. At least around 600 people* have been killed and hundreds of others injured in a 7.9-magnitude earthquake in Nepal, according to the country’s Interior Ministry. People were being rescued from the rubble of collapsed buildings. Temples have crumbled all over the city, and houses and walls have collapsed. EPA/NARENDRA SHRESTHA

*in total over 7500 people were killed

for a purpose: Meet the crew

d’jo surmont

I am 29 years old, born in Eernegem, West-Flanders, Belgium. I studied social work and I have a passion for organizing and bringing people together. My goal in life is to create equal opportunities and living standards for people of different countries. I have two chickens, they are very white. Their names are Manten and Kalle.

Aaron serruys

I am 29 years old, born in Eernegem, West-Flanders, Belgium. I studied social work and I have a passion for travelling, living creative and discovering intriguing cultures and special places in the world. My goal in life is to see the entire world and to help where I can whilst doing that. I had a cat but I don’t want to talk about it.

Igors Lurins

I am 34 years old I am born in Vilani Latvia.
My passion is to create and learn every day. I design decoration for festivals all around Europe. My goal in life is to follow my dreams and to share my skills with anyone who is in need. I have a spider under my bed but I am afraid to ask his name.


wouter de groot

I am 28 years old and I’m the only Dutch guy of the crew. I studied architectural technology, and right after my studies I started travelling. After joining an earthbag project in 2016 together with D’jo, I decided to join the crew. I play guitar in a band back in the Netherlands and I love being creative with music, photography and other stuff.

leentje martens

I am 36 years old, born in Ghent, Belgium. I studied administration and I have a passion for animals and travelling. I lost my heart in Nepal 7 years ago.
My goal in life is to continue travelling and to make small changes for the better in the lives of people and animals.
I have 11 Chihuahua’s, and now I am adopting a mountain Nepali dog named Bhoini.

nabin basnet

I am 33 years old and I am from Ramechhap, Nepal. I have a passion for agriculture. My goal in life is a self-sustainable farm where foreigners are welcome to learn and help developing rural places of my country, together with For a Purpose.
I have 6 sheep, 24 goats and 1 buffalo.


Martien Prinzie

I am 57 years old and I live in Torhout, Belgium. D’jo is my son. I studied orthopedagogy and I work with people with disabilities. I enjoy doing things for others, specially the less fortunate ones. I have a passion for travelling in a ‘back-to-basic’ way. I share my life with 2 cats, 1 chicken and a sweet Galgo!


Mathias van de wouwer

Matti was one of the co-founders of For A Purpose, our long best friend, our nepali bhai, our brother who sadly passed away in 2021. He was with us since the beginning and 4AP carries his energy in all what we are. We can only be thankful we had him, his amazing character, his strong and unique spirit, his bottomless positive energy guiding us in this adventure.

you ?

Your input matters!
Join us and experience:
The building process of earth-bag structures. Living with like-minded volunteers and locals. The chance to make a positive impact. Integration and promotion of individual ideas with traditional Nepali building.

You can make a difference!

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