New Year is such a long-awaited and long-prepared-for holiday. You need to carefully select your festive look and makeup, have creative nail design done, and of course choose the best hairstyle for the New Year’s party. But this is exactly in the run-up to winter holidays that hair and beauty salons have the longest and scariest queues, and it all is bad enough even without parents bringing their special needs children... For this reason, there are many parents who do not find any options other than doing their own and their kids’ hair at home. This means, most special children remain locked again within four walls without access to such services and... for some of them, a simple haircut can become a torture...
United World Cultures Foundation has been approached by one of such parents, Olena Fedoryshyna, from charity foundation With Warmth of Heart, who asked to organize another campaign Happy Comb under the charity program Let's Improve Children's Lives jointly with Kyiv Academy of Hairdressing Art, for special kids and their parents. Students of Kyiv Academy of Hairdressing Art have received additional training to work with special needs children. The young hairdressers seek to develop professionally and improve their skills both in haircutting and communicating with their favourite clients.
“The plus side of this cooperation between United World Cultures Foundation and Kyiv Academy of Hairdressing Art is that students learn to accept such children and connect with them, and kids with special needs find it easier to adapt to the social environment. We learn to understand how valuable and unique every personality is, have tolerance and respect to a person’s individuality, which is the pre-condition for creating an open, inclusive society. We support initiatives aimed at facilitation of every person’s development, at his or her inclusion into the society’s structures and personal fulfilment. Many girls and boys with special needs dream to become hair stylists. And I can guarantee that they are going to be outstanding professionals now and in the future. They are going to be shining stars in their professional environments at hair salons! Besides, they can share experiences with other hairdressers and make some more lives happier. These student hairdressers are true masters of their craft. They are committed to take their time and spend as much effort as needed to do a perfect and desired haircut for their client. In our photo gallery you can find a photo of a young client who fancied eating her lunch while she was having a haircut done, and the hairdressers gave her such opportunity”, says Liudmyla Lysenko, manager of UWCF’s campaign Happy Comb.
The students believe that a success recipe is not just the right technique and patience but also the atmosphere you create while haircutting. Children really liked looking at hairdresser accessories, books, toys, treat themselves to sweets gifted to every one of them by the charity foundation. Not a single child cried while students were working their ‘magic’. According to Daria Pavlova, master teacher at Kyiv Academy of Hairdressing Art, she and her students design creative hairstyles for children who typically get a bowl haircut. Knowing personal characteristics, they customize haircuts to kids to highlight openness and friendliness of little clients.
It happens frequently that adults do children’s haircuts guided only by their own convenience, without thinking about psychological condition of a little special person. Hair length should be appropriate for the child’s condition. If the child is aggressive and fidgety, it is better to keep hair short, but a good idea would also be to make boys look like boys and girls look like girls because the way a special kid looks is of great importance for his or her self-perception and identity.
Even where there is a need to have children’s hair short, for example, in child care facilities (for prevention of pediculosis and other parasitic diseases), it is still worthwhile considering gender-differentiated hairstyles.
A person in a wheelchair still wants to be individual, and a hairstyle needs to be convenient and easy care for a child. But most importantly, remember that special needs children understand it all perfectly and want to look good even though they can’t say anything about it!
Initiators and participants of the campaign Happy Comb have a dream that once they will be able to write about the growth of social orientation in hair salons where owners facilitate services for wheelchair users, for special needs children, and hire physically disabled hairdressers. Dear dream, please come true!