Professor to assist Syrian refugees in Germany

April 27, 2016
Dr. Daniel Leitch

PLATTEVILLE, Wis. — Dr. Daniel Leitch, associate professor in the University of Wisconsin-Platteville Department of Education, will take a six-month trip to Darmstadt, Germany to aid Syrian refugees. He first heard about this opportunity when the International Programs office held an informational forum for a representative from a university in Darmstadt, Germany. Soon after, he made travel plans.

The program organizing the volunteers is Helping Hands. Their goal is to introduce the Syrian refugees into German society and culture. Helping Hands offers housing, job opportunities in their bicycle manufacturing and repair shop or sewing industry, and language tutors and classes. Language is one of the top priorities to help the refugees enter a German trade school.

Leitch has been involved in volunteer programs since his college years when he volunteered in Venice, California at a camping program for underprivileged kids. He volunteered for the Salvation Army for a year in Saint Petersburg, Russia in the 1990s during the collapse of the Soviet Union. While in Saint Petersburg, Leitch also delivered supplies to youth prisons. Most recently, Leitch volunteered with the L’Arche program in Lviv, Ukraine for three semesters as a Fulbright Scholar.

Leitch said, “Volunteering is a fantastic opportunity to learn from others and experience the world from a fresh perspective. I feel something very fulfilling from helping others and definitely gain much more than I give.”

He said he is humbled by the acts of everyday people who work with vulnerable populations and volunteer to help. His biggest hope is that his own children have learned the importance of volunteer work.


Written by: Kailtyn Saeger, UW-Platteville University Information and Communications, 608-342-1194, saegerk@uwplatt.edu

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