It is a book about integration and the paths that people follow — voluntarily or otherwise — as they slowly make Malta home, their island.Neil Falzon, aditus Director, talking to the Times of Malta
On Friday, May 10, at the Casino Maltese, Valletta, aditus foundation launched Our Island II: Personal Accounts of Refugees in Malta with the support of the European Parliament Office in Malta, UNHCR Malta and the European Council on Refugees and Exiles. The publication of Our Island II, the second in the Our Island series of migration books, was funded through the President’s Award for Creativity, which is managed by Arts Council Malta.
The launch was a great success, with the upper gallery of the Casino Maltese full of friends and fans of the project, and books flying off the tables. Our guests included civil society colleagues, members of the press and many figures from Malta’s diverse migrant community.
Mary and Ousmane, two contributors to Our Island II, as well as aditus Director Neil Falzon, Senior Communication Coordinator at ECRE Villads Zahle and European Parliament Office in Malta Acting Head Anna Zammit addressed the gathered guests at the start of the evening.
Neil, in his opening speech, contemplated the
value of Our Island as a vehicle for the
revelation that is migrant voices and first-person migrant stories: new
arrivals making Malta their own and explaining how that endeavour continues to
unfold in their own words — rather
than either being rendered anonymous and invisible by generic news coverage,
public discourse and government policy, or being spoken for through the work of
their NGO advocates.
In closing, Mary, originally from Sierra Leone, offered humour and encouragement. She arrived in Malta as a war refugee, wife and mother. She is now a Mater Dei Hospital paediatric nurse, homeowner and proud taxpayer studying for a master’s degree — having started her university education in Malta. Mary insisted, “Malta gave me a chance, a second chance at life… So, brothers and sisters, do not be disheartened. To be a refugee is not a disease. You can make it. If I can make it, you can also make it.”
How can I obtain my copy of Our Island I and II?
For a copy of Our Island II (or Our Island I) against a nominal donation, write to us or give us a ring.
To see the album of Elisa Von Brockdorff’s fabulous photos from the launch, visit our Flickr page.