Ginger schoolchildren taking confidence-boosting workshops for their red hair

September 10, 2014 | by | 0 Comments

Ginger schoolchildren are taking part in confidence-boosting workshop sessions in a bid to stop them feeling blue about their red hair.

The new Ingingerness scheme encourages redheads to reclaim the term “ginger” and help them beat the bullies.

Run by proud ginger Donna Strachan – a social worker who suffered taunts at school for her hair and freckles – the course sees various flame-haired fictional characters talk about their experiences.

Children at St Margaret's RC Primary School at Loanhead learn about Ginger descrimination

Children at St Margaret’s RC Primary School at Loanhead learn about Ginger descrimination

The workshop is for primary school pupils aged between five and 12, and allows them to create their own red-headed personalities on mugs, t-shirts, gym bags and puzzles.

Ginger activists have hailed the initiative, saying the “light-hearted” approach might help the youngsters cope with teasing in future.

Donna, originally from Australia, said her son James, five, now receives the same insults she did as a child.

She is so dedicated to the cause she quit her day job to found her own ginger pride organisation, holding the special sessions in Edinburgh and Lothian.

She said: “A lot of kids still get teased and made fun of for having red hair.

“My generation certainly did. I got the usual names you get in Australia – freckle face, red-headed rat and carrot top.

“And so all these talks are all about making sure the next generation of kids don’t have to go through the same thing their parents did.

“What the workshops do is to focus on drawing out those positive qualities in the children, who will then make their own design that represents this.”

Donna’s anti-bullying campaign comes a year after Canadian comedian Shawn Hitchins led a ginger pride march through Edinburgh to stand up to bullies making fun of Scotland’s 650,000 redheads.

John Loughton, 27, noted ginger and Big Brother: Celebrity Hijack winner in 2008, said the course would be a “much more effective tool” in tackling bullying than a pride march.

He said: “For it to be taken seriously in schools you have to make it light-hearted, you have to make a few jokes, but you also have to put it in a context that’s relevant to children because it’s also quite serious. “

“Children need to be told that a physical trait should not mean they are an easy target for bullying, and that they have a right to feel safe when they’re at school.

“What I don’t support is someone who’s grown up being bullied say that they had a normal upbringing – because there’s nothing normal about getting bullied.”

The Ingingerness course is running at a number of Midlothian primaries this week including Cuiken, Mayfield, St Margaret’s and St Mary’s.

A Midlothian Council spokeswoman said: “These workshops are a fun way of teaching young people the value of respecting others and learning positive attitudes.”

British gingers celebrated Red Head Day UK for the first time on June 7.

Category: News

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