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Helping hand for ‘fellow human beings’

Udo Friedrich from Volkswagen Sachsen volunteers as an integration guide. The children, women, and men he helps come primarily from Syria, Afghanistan, and Eritrea.

Udo Friedrich gives children a ride on his tractor.

For the past 27 years, Udo Friedrich has been working at the plant in Zwickau – Hall 5, where the Golf and Passat are ­assembled. He has seen many changes, but is pleased that some things stay the same: “Social responsibility, partnership, humane values, mutual respect, and fighting against discrimination – these have always been core principles at Volkswagen.”

In his free time, the team spokesperson volunteers as an integration guide for his “fellow human beings.” He doesn’t like using the word “refugee” anymore. “For me, these are people with their own individual histories.

For most of them, their flight is over. And now the tough struggle begins of trying to settle down in Germany and find a way to have a life in which they can communicate with others and earn a living.”

 

Friedrich also uses his Volkswagen T4 to help the children, women, and men. He usually uses it to transport furniture, for assembling tables, cabinets, and beds are as much a part of his free-time activities as is taking people to appointments at agencies and medical centers. In addition, Friedrich takes his Syrian, Afghan, and Eritrean guests on excursions, and plays with the children at refugee accommodation centers. He also has a tractor, which is fun for both young and old to ride. “Is there anything more beautiful than to hear children laughing?” he says. “I really enjoy working with my friends to help these people and build relationships here that are marked by trust and respect.”

He works in assembly at Volkswagen Sachsen.