Interviews with Tim Hetherington Award Winners: Fernando Moleres


Continuing our series of interviews with the winners of the many awards given in Tim’s name we talked to Fernando Moleres, who in 2012 received The Tim Hetherington Grant, a joint initiative set up by The World Press Photo and Human Rights Watch. Moleres created a photography and video project titled ‘Breaking the Circle’ which is a continuation of his project ‘Juveniles Behind Bars in Sierra Leone’. The story explores the harsh conditions minors face while incarcerated in the adult prison of Pademba, Sierra Leone, and follows them in their struggle to adjust to life after being released from prison. Many juveniles wait years for their trial, without access to legal assistance; while their families have often rejected them and will not welcome them back home.

Moleres captured the reality of the experience by following the lives of the young former inmates who were taken in under a social rehabilitation programme of the nongovernmental organisation Free Minor Africa. The programme was started by Moleres in the hope of helping the juvenile prisoners in Sierra Leone become part of society again. 

Here we catch up with Fernando to see how the situation and his work has developed since 2012.

How has ‘Breaking the circle’ been received by audiences since releasing it?
Really the work about social reinsertion in the society has had less attention than the work about Juvenile prisons in Sierra Leone. There is however a series of sources online which have been published by platforms such as TIME Lightbox, MSN LatinoAmerica and Indian based newspaper MINT**. These sources speak about the effects of long term imprisonment and the benefits of having a programme about reintegrating back into society.

How do you continue to support the humanitarian concern?
We’ve continued to develop the educational platform Free Minor Africa (FMA) founded by NGO. It is a non-profit, non-governmental initiative which aims to educate youths that have been imprisoned. What we do includes:
- Offer help directly to incarcerated minors in Pademba prison and in juvenile prison.
- During court, monitor the trials of minors coming from maximum-security Pademba Prison.
- Pay the bail of youths incarcerated for minor offenses. Many times, a bail of less than 50 Euros can avoid years of jail time.
- Provide a teacher to the juvenile prison. Work on this project has already begun in the approved school of Freetown.
- We cover the expenses of educational material, uniforms and if the prisoner is released, we cover the education fee if they decide to continue to study.

 Have your aims and ambitions changed since making the work?
I follow the programme with the same energy and enthusiasm as I did when I started and continue to find funding to keep the programme going.

What are you currently working on?
I have finished a photo essay about the rehabilitation of internet addicts in China and now I am working on a project about Climate change which has started through visiting and researching Greenland.

What do you hope to achieve with future projects?
I like the line: Information-Awareness-Action.
** Articles can be viewed here:

Interviews with Tim Hetherington Award Winners: Fernando Moleres