Danielle and Hannah tell two very different stories of childhood experiences and how they had to strike a balance between cultures. Luke and Michael both had to deal with racism in different periods for different reasons. As you listen to their stories, think how similar or different their experiences of being young were to yours.

 Danielle came from Mauritius as a child in 1969. She talks about how hard it was to be accepted in school, the tensions between a protective home and unwelcoming school life. She describes the world of her street near Leyton Station in the 1970s.

As a Black boy in school Michael had a mixed experience including negative reactions which affected him.

Luke came as a child from Lithuania. He describes what it was like arriving in school unable to speak English and isolated from other students, and how his love of swimming helped.

Although born in Somalia, Hannah came to Leyton from Norway and found that life for an African girl in East London was very different from what she was used to in Oslo. As a fun-seeking teenager she presented challenges for her aunt, who also had to respect community expectations.

Things to think about and discuss

All four interviewees had to develop new identities here in the UK while still retaining the identities they brought with them. How do you and your fellow students feel about ethnic, religious or cultural identity? Do you think being British excludes or includes many different identities?

Ladders - Young Writers and Performers Club.