Samjana Gurung is the secretary of the Better Future Council (BFC) in the rural municipality of Bijaynagar in Kapilvastu, Nepal. Originally coming from the village of Chapha, her role is to ensure that the programs developed by the council clearly meet the community’s expectations.

Aspiring to a greater solidarity between people and to the development of Nepal and her village, to become a member of the BFC seemed an obvious choice when the opportunity arose.

Offering greater opportunities

Being a member of the BFC enables Samjana to work towards the development of her village and the improvement of life in her community. It’s a way of putting in place solutions adapted to local needs.

Having lived in the village all her life, she is aware of what some people go through, and the fact that she can identify with them is a real source of motivation.

She explains :

While the Kapilvastu region is blessed with fertile lands and a rich cultural heritage, it has also grappled with issues such as gender inequality, social discrimination, and inadequate infrastructure. 

Like many others in my farming community, we have faced numerous challenges stemming from poverty, limited access to education and healthcare, and lack of opportunities.”

A true agent of change

I truly believe that that individual efforts alone are not enough; we all need to thrive together.

Her life experience has taught her to put altruism at the heart of her actions. What she describes as “selflessly caring for others and working for the common good, even if it requires personal sacrifice”, drives her existence.

She says : “In both my personal and professional life, I strive to embody this spirit of altruism by volunteering my time and efforts to support those in need.

When asked if there was a particular project close to her heart, Samjana recalls the construction of toilets in Kapilvastu, which promotes cohesion and improve villagers’ lives:

One initiative I have been closely involved with is the toilet construction program. We visited households, conducted counseling sessions, and facilitated community discussions to raise awareness and encourage the adoption of proper sanitation practices. Additionally, I received training for Parenting Education Classes and so I could then teach my community. I have successfully completed all sessions in my community. After these classes, I have witnessed positive changes in guardians, particularly in terms of gaining knowledge about the importance of education and nurturing children. This has fostered a sense of unity and solidarity among the guardians in our village.”

Collective satisfaction

Samjana tells us that despite some initial reluctance, the community is now delighted with the presence of BFC members, who are committed to working alongside them for the better, thanks to the significant results and the sincere approach of the projects set up:

One challenge we faced initially was the reluctance of community members to adopt behavioral changes, especially towards the usage and construction of toilets. Many households lacked proper sanitation facilities, and convincing them of the importance of hygiene and its impact on health was an uphill battle. However, through persistent efforts, awareness campaigns, and the involvement of local leaders, we gradually witnessed a positive shift in attitudes and practices.

The BFC members are highly respected within our community as catalysts for positive change. The feedback we receive is overwhelmingly positive, with many expressing gratitude for the opportunities and support provided through the programs we have helped shape.

She goes on to explain that the results are positive not only for the community but also for herself:

Personally, my role as a BFC member has brought me immense satisfaction and a sense of purpose in contributing to the well-being of my community.

Our individual behavior influences the collective

Samajana explains that altruism is present in many aspects of her life. She is aware that we live in interdependence, and for this reason, solidarity is the key to living in harmony:

Interdependence is a concept that resonates deeply with me. I believe that human beings, animals, and nature are all interconnected, and our actions have ripple effects on the entire ecosystem. We must recognize this interdependence and strive to live in harmony with each other and the environment.

Our behavior has the power to impact others profoundly, influencing their emotions, moods, and overall well-being. It is essential to be mindful of our actions and strive to spread positivity and kindness in our interactions with others. As a BFC member, I have internalized this deeply, as my behavior, especially while conducting programs and motivating others, depends on how quickly the participants grasp the knowledge.

Implementing simple actions

She has integrated ways of cultivating altruism, by finding inspiration in her daily life, but also by putting in place simple commitments that she knows she can live up to:

I find inspiration from one of my colleagues, the president of the BFC. She inspires me in many ways, especially through her relentlessness, hard work, outspoken nature, and her fight for truth, which is something I aspire to emulate. In my daily life, I try to make conscious efforts to take care of myself, both physically and mentally, especially by maintaining a healthy diet.

She concludes this testimony by explaining that by continuing to cultivate altruism and acting together, we can create a positive long-term impact:

My wish for Nepal is to see it become a truly prosperous and inclusive nation, where every individual, regardless of their background, has access to quality education, healthcare, and opportunities for growth.

I envision my village, Bijayanagar, becoming a thriving community in the next 10 years, with improved infrastructure, access to clean water and sanitation, and a robust local economy driven by sustainable agricultural practices and small-scale industries. I also wish that my village and country develop so that people do not have to go abroad for employment and can instead achieve their goals within their home country.

For my community, my aspiration is to see a future where women are empowered, educated, and have an equal voice in decision-making processes. I hope to see an end to social discrimination and a society that values and celebrates diversity. 

Samjana Gurung’s inspiring testimony showed just how much daily involvement in actions that are meaningful to us can contribute to our collective well-being. So that you too can cultivate your commitment, we invite you to the Altruistic Encounters on May 25 and 26. It’s a great opportunity to discover, through a variety of themes, how we can all, in our own way, contribute to changing the world.


By working together as a community, I believe we can overcome the challenges we face, including deeply-rooted behavioral patterns, and create a better future for ourselves and the generations to come.

Samjana Gurung