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Empathy For Youth Academy

We have empathy for YOU!

We offer online classes for young people and caregivers to increase their empathic intelligence through the teaching of emotional literacy, empathic communication, and critical thinking- using the arts, mindfulness, and non-violent language technique as tools for self-development and social change. We now provide counselling as part of our empathy curriculum too!



HundrED shortlisted this innovation

HundrED has shortlisted this innovation to one of its innovation collections. The information on this page has been checked by HundrED.

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Target group
August 2021
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!

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 young people. 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.
For parents on the other hand, we teach them our empathic communication strategy to help them connect deeper with their kids.

Due to the pandemic, our programs are mostly conducted online. The sessions are intimate, with not more than 15 students per cohort. 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.

We are now actively sharing our empathic communication curriculum to parents, caregivers, and teachers, to cultivate deeper connection with young people.

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!


Empathic Communication Skills For Caregivers
We recently ran a workshop for school principals and leaders of organisations to spread our empathic communication technique. Those who joined include Whimsigirl, KDU International School of Klang, Sri Aria, Kiddo Care, and Women Girls. 
We brought our course on shame and insecurity to empower 60 high school girls in Malaysia through mask-play. 
Empathic Communication for Parents
We are slowly building a community with parents to practice empathic communication with their children. In this Parent-Child Communication Skills workshops, we share  practical tools  to protect and restore relationships between members of a family. Some of the workshop highlights:Effective communication techniques with childrenUnderstanding emotions and the root of conflict at homeStress management tips in lockdownRole-playing and practical parent-child exercises
Unwind Ya Mind: Exams & Anxieties
We gathered students who were sitting for SPM, a major examination for 17 year olds, to learn memory-retaining strategies, breathing techniques to calm down, and the Emotional Freedom Tapping (EFT). 
EQ & Empathy Course at Shelter Homes
Before the pandemic hit, we managed to complete a physical 10-session course with girls in a shelter home in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia. We sensed emotional numbness in these 9 year old children. This is potentially caused by the trauma of having been separated from their mother and family at the age where memory-imprint is the strongest; making the learning of EQ and empathy more relevant than we could imagine. Emotional suppression, if not released, would be detrimental to the children’s being and mental health growing up. In each session, we had talking circles, EQ learning through storytelling, and therapeutic art activities that included positive mantras. 
RISE UP: A course on Shame & Insecurity
We discussed with our students the root of shame and insecurity and used a Mask Play technique to help them make peace with their struggles. We also shared some breathing techniques for confidence and emotional safety.
EFY Live: Intergenerational/cultural Empathic Dialogue
With parental consent, we gathered talented students from our empathy course to practice their empathic listening and communication. They were asked to pick a feeling, need, or life challenge they'd want to learn deeper about, and we then connected them with people from different walks of life to interview. Journalism teacher, poet Laureate, wildlife biologist, Muay Thai champion, and recently, representatives from the Association of Transgender Children in Mexico. It's been a wonderful project so far!
Empathy through critical thinking and Forum Theatre
We always begin with a circle, and end with a circle. This particular workshop was with an international school in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, where we came in to guide Year 4 to Year 9 students ways to independently resolve their intra and interpersonal conflicts. We began with checking in with what everyone was feeling, before playing some active theatre games that got the students to create unjust scenarios with their bodies. The audience then were asked to manoeuvre the players' positions to resolve the oppression portrayed from the Tableaus created. The learning of EQ involved the study of different feelings. The students then were asked to share their experiences with these feelings through poetry writing. We then turned the session into a poetry slam showcase in the next session. 

Implementation steps

Contact Empathy for Youth Academy

Get in touch with us at https://www.empathyforyouth.com/ or https://www.instagram.com/empathyforyouth/ to learn more about what we do and get updates on our events.

Empathy Hack

1. Observe what the other person is feeling (ie angry? disappointed? )

2. Guess what is that person needing (ie respect? personal space?)

Similarly, we can also apply the hack to empathise with ourselves.

=How am I feeling about this situation? What do I need?

Spread of the innovation

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