My experience as a Human Rights Intern with aditus foundation


It’s November already and 2020 is almost over, so is my internship.  I still remember sending my CV and being interviewed by aditus back in February of this year.  The feeling of excitement accompanied by concern that I had regarding whether they will let me in the aditus family and accept me as a human rights intern. Also, whether they would see me suitable for such an internship. Lucky Rimaz, they did, and here I am reaching the end of this amazing full-of-experience as a Human Rights Intern with aditus foundation!

I still remember the first week of the internship: it’s called reading week, where I read about aditus’ previous and current projects. It was in that week where I realized that I am in the right place for human rights. I remember facing challenges in understanding some projects, but that was the aim behind reading week: to read, observe and ask whenever in doubt. Also, by reading up about previous projects, I have built up an idea on how aditus works and the type of projects that I feel keen on being involved in, if possible.

The ones which I was mostly amazed by were:

  • Project integrated, which focuses on ensuring that the beneficiaries of international protection are integrated in Maltese society, effectively enjoy their rights, and achieving true independence and self-sufficiency. Click here to read more;
  • Training Kit for Empowering Refugee-Led Community Organisations. This project’s aim is to improve the quality of enjoyment of human rights by refugees and is based on the idea of supporting the active inclusion of marginalised, vulnerable or excluded communities. To read more, click here.

Keeping up with the internship during lock down

During the COVID-19 pandemic and less than a month after I started my internship, a lock down took place. If I was asked back then about my feelings regarding working from home for three months and a half, being still a fresher at aditus, I would have said I might be unable to do it. And I’d be stressed about it. However, looking back, it was such a learning experience to be your own supervisor alongside the continuous help and care of the aditus family. I remember receiving a delicious Figolla from aditus to my home, isn’t this amazing!

aditus figolla
We were all sent a figolla home to keep our spirits up!

During lock down, I remember enjoying a particular task. I was asked to contact local newspapers and ask for pricing for online banners. I then looked for the best deals, special offers, technical specifications, etc. This got me in touch with some aspects of NGO marketing, which I’m sure will be useful in the future.

Training Kit for Empowering Refugee-Led Community Organisations

During the summer of my internship, we finally returned to the office! I was asked to participate in this project by interviewing refugees and refugee-led organisations. It also require me to take detailed notes of our interviews! My supervisor, Katarzyna De Wilde, gave us advice, explained to us how to best handle an interview and how to make the best use of an interview even if we went off topic. I realised that all information obtained during the interview is valuable. Thanks to my colleague Julie Fuchs (recently completed her internship)…it was an honour to work with you in this project. You are such a cooperative colleague!

Being a resident in Malta and involved in organizations, it was very useful for me to be involved in such interviews and to gain insight into how refugee/non-refugee -led community organizations work in Malta. This will help me a lot in the future when working or being involved in projects with them.


Interpreting is what I would thank aditus most for when it comes to my internship. When I recall the first time I interpreted back in March and compare to now, I think I can say have really improved. aditus supported me with that! The moment they knew I was interested in interpreting, my supervisor Katarzyna De Wilde sent me documents regarding interpreting and notes of a UNHCR training course. From there, my interpreting skills started to improve.

Emotion and reaction control. The ability to hide your emotions and control any reactions to assure the accuracy of the interpreting. The challenge of perceiving correctly what is said by the client and, when in doubt, to ask for clarification. The accuracy needed when facilitating communication between the lawyer and the client.

I would like to thank our lawyers:

  • Neil Falzon
  • Claire Delom
  • Carla Camilleri

Thanks to your continuous support, patience, and guidance during my experience of interpreting. I can now say that I have improved a lot!

Detention Visits

Here I come to the part where I talk about what I was always excited to experience since the starting of my internship. Due to COVID-19, I had to wait few more months to get involved with this. Detention visits. I have always wanted to experience visiting people in detention and listening to their stories. It was important for me to see the reality of it and not just read about it. I saw the truth and now I am more motivated to help when possible. Unfortunately I am not a lawyer; however I was able to help our amazing lawyers as an interpreter during our detention visits.

Red carpet to detention!
Red carpet to detention!

I still remember the first client…I was so stressed, and then gradually became more comfortable. This taught me that the more experiences you pass through, the more professional you become.

This reminds me of a quote which I truly agree with: “Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn”

My internship colleague Matthew Chircop

Thank you so much for such a cooperative year! I enjoyed it each time we worked together, starting from when we set up a name for our blog posts ‘#KeepingUpWithTheInterns’ till now .

More to experience…

It’s not the end yet and I still have two months left to experience as a Human Rights Intern with aditus. I hope to be involved in the future projects they create. I would like to thank them all for their patience, their good mood and smiley faces in the morning! Thank you, and I will confidently say that this human rights internship was one of the top best things that happened to me in 2020…it helped build me.

Thank you and talk soon in my next blog post!
Rimaz Bitrou

#KeepingUpWithTheInterns is part of our project Marginalised Persons as Human Rights Volunteers. If you want to follow Matthew and Rimaz as they navigate their way through Malta’s human rights landscape, subscribe to our News & Updates or follow them on our social media pages!

This project has been funded through the Voluntary Organisations Project Scheme managed by the Malta Council for the Voluntary Sector on behalf of Parliamentary Secretary for Youth, Sports and Voluntary Organisations within the Ministry for Education and Employment. This project/publication reflects the views only of the author, and the MEDE and the MCVS cannot be held responsible for the content or any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

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