Mar 3 2011 By Joe McGuire
SIGHTHILL is known for its large immigrant population.
For many Glaswegians the area will bring to mind the racist violence that culminated in the brutal slaying of Kurdish asylum seeker Firsat Dag a decade ago.
But 10 years on, this perception is entirely outdated.
In the 12 months following Firsat's murder, racist incidents fell by more than 50 per cent, with the community pulling together as a result of his death.
Today Sighthill's diverse community is working together, thanks in no small part to the actions of individuals like Nataliia Hinde.
Nataliia, originally from the Ukraine, is the founder of IKON International, a group who run projects to promote integration through education.
For the past six weeks Ikon has run a Fun Club for almost 100 children from the local primary, St Stephen's.
The school is a perfect example of the multi-cultural nature of the area, with pupils from 52 nationalities and whose school tie has been redesigned to incorporate elements of all these nation's flags.
Nataliia believes that education holds the key to getting rid of racism.
She said: "We teach the principles of respect, creativity, ambition and the importance of cultural diversity.
"Our future lies in the hands of our children, we need to safeguard that future."
Twice a week pupils have had the chance to go along to KATS (Kids and Adults Together in Sighthill) community centre to learn about the cultures of their neighbours and the heritage of their adopted nation.
Seven-year-old Jael Eim told the Glaswegian what she'd learned.
She said: "I really enjoyed the club. We learned about flags, national dress and different cultural holidays, it was a lot of fun."
When our reporter asked Jael where she was from she said unhesitatingly in a broad Glaswegian accent "Scotland".
Though her parents are from Africa, Jael was born here and considers herself Scottish first and foremost.
This sense of belonging is vital, as Ailie Gordon, the police asylum seeker liason officer, explained. She said: "This is a fantastic initiative. It's teaching kids to respect different cultures while helping them feel part of Scotland.
"In addition some of these children's parents come from countries where the police are a tool of oppression.
"With police involvement in the programme we can teach them they can trust us."
To celebrate the completion of the Fun Club, the children were treated to a My Beautiful Scotland Party.
The celebration gave them a chance to show off al l they'd learned about Scotland to special guests, the Red Hot Chilli Pipers. Fun was had by all, as children with family origins from around the globe joined hands in a Scottish jig to the award-winning pipers' tune.
The band's founder, Stuart Cassells, said: "It's great to see so many different cultures brought together and see them enjoy the bagpipes.
"The bagpipe itself is an example of cultural exchange, it's originally from the Middle East."
And the pipers have inspired the kids to further education.
Jael told us: "I loved the pipes, I want to learn to play them now!"