At 17 her mind was made up! With Telma

In this episode, Miriam interviews her friend, a teacher and filmmaker, Telma Diaz.

Telma was born in Portugal to her mum who was from Guinea-Bissau and her Portuguese Dad. Telma moved to Guinea-Bissau for a couple of years whilst her mum set up their life Switzerland, Telma then spent most of her childhood and teens in Geneva before moving to England.


Telma discusses her difficult childhood, her experience of racism in Switzerland and her passion and determination that got her to where she is today.


  • When Telma was living in Guinea-Bissau she found it very different to Portugal where she was used to having freedom. It is how she learnt a lot about her African roots. When Telma lived in Portugal people saw her as African and when she was living in Guinea-Bissau people saw her as white, it made he feel like she never truly belonged anywhere.


  • Telma then moved to Switzerland and the difference to where she had been living was shocking. She was very grateful to be given all the opportunities she was in Switzerland but back in the 80s when she was there it was quite racist which she unfortunately experienced a lot, especially in school.


  • Telma found the racism in Switzerland more difficult to deal with then the physical beatings she experienced in Guinea-Bissau. The racism never stopped, no matter how much she tried to adapt it was always there and seriously affected her mental health.


  • At 7 years old, Telma’s Dad left. This was heart-breaking to Telma, she had no one to talk to that understood her struggles as her mum was going through the same thing as her.


  • When on holiday in England Telma saw Trevor McDonald presenting the news on TV and was gobsmacked, she had never seen a black person presenting on TV before. She also noticed black policeman and the fact that people were friendly and nice to her and her mum. They were accepted, it was a stark contrast to her experiences and treatment in switzerland.


  • At 17 after staying with a host family in England Telma decided she wanted to live there. Her mum agreed that she could live there as long as she completed school in Switzerland. She moved to England at 19 and learnt to speak English fluently within a year. She then went to university, became a filmmaker and is now a teacher. Her experiences with teachers in Switzerland means that she knows exactly what not to do and vows to always be accepting and encouraging to her students.




“In a way I felt like I never belonged anywhere”


“I felt like I was beaten up by words”


“It could be the best country, but not as a black woman”


“What I went through is part of me”


“The weather was rubbish but the people were so nice”


“Acceptance is key”



Miriam is a Trauma Informed Coach, an African, a mom of three daughters, a blogger and writer.  After graduating from the London School of Economics, she built her international career in the fields of banking and international development, working for organisations such as the World Economic Forum, Lombard Odier Private Bank, JP Morgan, the Mastercard Foundation and the United Nations. She now uses her passion for psychology and dedicates her time to coaching others to free themselves from the burden of childhood trauma.  Her wish to help other women connect to their inner wisdom, love themselves and follow their passion. In her effort to destigmatize mental health and normalize mental health conversations in black communities, she wrote her memoir about surviving childhood and finding her worth.  



“My name is Telma and I live in London. I am a French teacher and have a blog that shares my experience growing up in Switzerland. I am mounting a project about young people and footballers. Stay tuned!”



Instagram: @_miriamnjoku/



CLUBHOUSE: @miriamnjoku


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