In The Beginning

Our story begins with Jan-Willem Smulders, his wife, Stephanie van Aken, and their friend Agnes Werner who volunteered in the refugee community in the Pudu district of Kuala Lumpur.

In the course of her work, Stephanie was deeply touched by the plight of refugee and stateless children. Although many were of high school age, most could not get an education as they had no access to government schools. Private schools were too expensive and inaccessible for refugees.

In 2012, an opportunity arose during the ZOAT (a Regional Dutch Hockey Tournament in Asia) tournament where the three individuals raised RM80,000. This funding kickstarted the ambitious goal of providing education to young refugees. Tanja Pelle, Bjorn Kruizinga, and Jan-Willem, set up the Young Refugee Cause and wrote the business plan that still serves as the framework for Ideas Academy today.

Andrea Maiola, linked up the Academy with Wan Saiful Wan Jan of Ideas. With Ideas’ involvement and financial contributions, the plans evolved and gained momentum.

After almost two years of fundraising and development, the Ideas Academy was officially launched in 2014. What began as a small class hosted within another school, has since become a centre with over 100 students. The Academy is now housed in a 5 story building, multiple classrooms for up to 300 students and equipped  with IT room, library, and canteen. A dedicated team of educators form the backbone of the Academy.

We hope to reach full capacity by 2022. This can only happen with the help of passionate and big-hearted people like yourself and the contribution of many generous donors.

Be a part of the Ideas Academy story, and help us make a difference!