Contact innovator

Illya Sumanto
We have empathy for YOU!

Empathy For Youth Academy

location_on Malaysia
We offer online classes for children and teenagers to increase their empathic intelligence through the teaching of emotional literacy and critical thinking- using the arts, mindfulness, and non-violent language techniques as tools for self-development and social change. We now provide counselling as part of our empathy curriculum too!
Illya Sumanto, founder/ managing director
Empathy raises the youth to build a culture that cares. Empathic intelligence can quell the savage beast that dwells within us humans. And guess what? It can be taught!

Illya Sumanto, founder/ managing director


HundrED has not validated this innovation

Anyone can submit their innovation to HundrED Open. All information on this page is provided by the innovator and has not been checked by HundrED. Innovation page has been created by Nik Waheeda Nik Kamarulzaman on April 28th, 2021
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Innovation Overview

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Updated on May 9th, 2021
about the innovation

Why did you create this innovation?

Despite the urgency of its necessity in our deeply wounded & highly competitive world, the teaching of empathy is limited in schools and at home. In the multicultural & multi-religious Malaysia in particular where talking about emotion is not a norm, vulnerable communication of the heart that fosters empathy among diverse peoples of the nation needs to be championed and nurtured in the young.

How does your innovation work in practice?

Based on our research study and experience as EQ practitioners, we have formulated two learning phases to help foster empathic intelligence in children and teenagers. The first phase is taught through the learning of emotional literacy where our students are guided into recognising, processing, and sharing their feelings to independently resolve their inner and outer conflicts. Meanwhile, the second phase aims to help young people generate critical thinking to rationalise into empathy through the discourse on critical issues such as race, sexuality, and extremism.

Due to the pandemic, our programs are now mostly conducted online. The sessions are intimate, with 1-5 students per class. Major components of the class instructions to engage the students with the learning are talking circles, mindfulness, storytelling, therapeutic art, and creative writing.

How has it been spreading?

Apart from Malaysia, we have guided youth from Indonesia, Singapore, China, Senegal, the US, and Puerto Rico. Within the past year, we received three grants from different organisations in Malaysia, including the city council of Petaling Jaya in the Selangor state to conduct classes for children in shelter homes. However, this has especially been challenging since the access to online learning for the less privileged is still a major issue in the country.

As part of our applied empathy project, we created an inter-generational/cultural interview series, where our students discuss emotions with professionals from different fields.

Our team currently comprises of 4 teachers (including a counsellor) with different skill sets and teaching practices contributing to the academy.

If I want to try it, what should I do?

Based on our findings, it would be almost ineffective to try to teach empathy without the initial learning of self-empathy. Thus, it is pivotal for you to first help young people become aware of their emotions, identity, concerns, & experiences with oppression.The process of teaching empathy requires a lot of empathic listening & the mirroring of empathy by the facilitators. Get in touch with us!


Achievements & Awards

April 2021
Innovation page created on

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