Detained Narratives

1 March 2021 – 28 February 2022

This project has been funded by the Small Initiatives Support Scheme (SIS) managed by the Malta Council for the Voluntary Sector (MCVS).


The detention of migrants is a key theme for all the organisations active in the area of migration and asylum. Furthermore, it is also of interest to other voluntary organisations active in sectors that are somehow affected by it: mental health, children, women, victim’s rights, LGBTIQ+.

In fact, much of our work on detention is a collaborative one. We seek to create and bring together synergies that allow us to offer a better service to individuals, and grant us a stronger voice when engaging with Government.

Detained Narratives will directly support our work with detained migrants. This work is essentially two-fold:

  • visiting detention centres to provide needed information and legal assistance to detained migrants;
  • engaging in dialogue with the authorities to improve living conditions and ensure respect for the human rights of migrants.

Much of this work is done discreetly and behind closed doors, with little visibility given to the situation within detention. In fact, to date the narrative of Malta’s detention centres remains largely a politicised one. From our perspective, this narrative fails to take into account the personal stories that live within the confines of the centres.

Men, women and children detained for several weeks or months who are therefore not only deprived of their personal liberty but also of control over their lives, their futures and the way the world perceives them.

We believe that, whatever one’s views of migration and detention, it is imperative that human dignity and human voices remain heard as being central to discussions. The absence of these voices weakens the work of civil society actors in the field and also of those public stakeholders engaging with the issue.

We firmly believe that giving a voice to the personal narratives will humanise an often cold and insensitive discussion, and hopefully render national policies and approaches more friendly and humane.

The Project

Detained Narratives is a project that will give voice to migrants detained in Malta’s detention centres, by placing them at the heart and in control of the narrative.

The project will aim to produce 5-10 short videos that recount the personal stories of individual experiences in detention. These will be disseminated on social media and other online platforms as a tool of awareness-raising, advocacy and also individual empowerment.

It is our aim that these video clips will allow us to take with us to Government authorities voices that would otherwise go unheard and unnoticed. In doing so, we hope to be able to have a more engaged conversation about the human dimension of detention and how this may be reinforced within the current regimes.

Make sure you follow our social media pages to catch the videos as we publish them!