Asylum seekers, Malta
Malta is too small to assimilate them and, after all, they did not even want to come here. Most of them never heard of it until they came across it during their journey to a promised and unknown land named Europe.
They are the thousands of refugees arriving from Sub-Saharan Africa. Their stories are all similar: for the most part, they come from Somalia, but also from Eritrea, Ethiopia, Sudan, Congo… countries where war and inhumane living conditions force them to flee in search of a better life. After a long and exhausting journey, they arrive in Libya, where they are usually imprisoned for months. From there, they are crammed onto makeshift boats and try to reach what for them is "salvation".
They usually arrive in Malta by chance; they are heading for Italy but something goes wrong, and they are forced to ask the Maltese army for help. Once on dry land, they ask for asylum, but they then face up to 12 months in detention (18 months if their request is rejected). After this time, they can go to Open Centres, places where they can sleep and eat, but with the possibility of going out and finding accommodation and a job. After a year, they have to find a way of managing on their own.
This project has been awarded as recipient of the 7th edition of the Julia Margaret Cameron Award and was featured in Zeke Magazine.