Guest Blog: Reflecting On Ashoka's Start Empathy Initiative

Submitted on Thu, December 13, 2012

“It’s not so much the journey that’s important; as is the way that we treat those we encounter and those around us, along the way”

― Jeremy Aldana

Words by Vinita Agarwal Teja from the Agarwal Foundation. The original blog post can be found here.



We recently learned about a very interesting initiative called Start Empathy by Ashoka. The main focus is to incorporate empathy in education and everyday lives so as to convert it into a skill that is a part of every individual.

Empathy is the ability to understand the feelings and perspectives of others, and to use that understanding to guide one’s actions. It is critical both to individual human development and to our collective ability to solve problems and build a stronger society.

In this ever changing world with so much competition and drive to succeed, we forget to stop and listen to the other person. With the widespread use of smartphones and tablets, instant gratification has become a necessity, so we don’t pause to think about the effect our actions and reactions can have on another individual. Empathy is one of the most basic human distinctions and it should be emphasized on from an early age.


Imparting education and values about Empathy can benefit a young child by developing them into a well balanced adult. It can create a better environment for students in educational institutes and social interactions. It also creates a certain amount of self discipline among the children. Schools that teach empathy in the early stages have much less bullying than those who don’t.

Not only does this skill help kids in their formative years, it is useful in the later stages of life by creating effective leaders, better decision making skills, problem solving skills and change management – all of which are known to be the most coveted competencies among leaders in the corporate world.

We think that each individual has the capability to STOP, LISTEN and PERCEIVE. When one  understands another point of view, the decisions they take will usually be the right thing to do. It all starts with a little bit of listening.

Please read more about this initiative here and lets all try to make a conscious effort to EMPATHIZE.