“A woman cannot live alone in Afghanistan and raise her own child without a man” says Nooria.

“It’s funny because in the beginning some people had reservations and concerns, telling us we cannot take in a stranger, that they will steal from us.

“But then when they met Nooria they changed their minds. Now they say ‘it’s not the same with women and children’. Their tone and language completely changed after meeting her” says Sabine.

“We felt obligated to bring our own efforts for integration” Heino says.

Thorsten said they had a good feeling when they met Bashir the first time. “It was instinct. We knew it would work.”

“I have friends from everywhere. I love Austria, it is so beautiful and open minded” says Bashir. “I love acting, the arts, it’s very modern here, but I miss Syria too.”

Margarethe, whose husband is away for work most of the week, is delighted to have the companionship. “The whole experience enriched my life, with friendship and companionship” she says.

She admits that the experience helped change her perceptions. She had expected a headscarf-wearing woman with traditional views. “But I was really surprised when I met Souad” she says. She is so independent, so open minded, modern and totally against it.

“I feel like I am living in heaven now,” Souad says. “Margarethe is amazing, so sweet and her whole family is wonderful. I feel at home. I feel she’s like my sister.

Valerie said the roommates were initially concerned Mouhanad might require a lot of assistance and guidance. They were pleasantly surprised.

“Mouhanad knows more people than we do. His list of contacts is incredible and we didn’t have to step in – he doesn’t need us at all” says Valerie.

“We thought we might have to look after him like a younger brother” says Roman, “but we didn’t have to do anything. He’s also very orderly, very organised, a very German Syrian.”

Marianne’s partner, Rolf, is an electrical engineer who volunteers by teaching German language classes to refugees a couple of times a week. “I supported Marianne from the beginning with this decision. Take in a refugee into your home to verify if it’s true or not what is written in the media. I want to have direct contact with them and see and discover their world.

“I want to find out how they are on my own. I believe that why they came here, whatever they fled from, must have been really bad,” says Rolf. Marianne, a primary school teacher, wanted to offer her empty room to a refugee but she wasn’t sure she could handle living with a newborn baby. “At first I wasn’t sure I could live with a crying baby but it worked out. He rarely cries and when he does it’s so quietly, Laila calms him down immediately,” Marianne says.

“Now, if he cries I take him. I love having them here.”

“I was so scared when I first came here” Laila says, “but they are so good to me.” She is trying to learn the language so she can start working.

Nawras says “after everything I went through and everything I lost; my family, my friends, my country, my home, I really had nothing more to lose.

“I was not afraid of getting on that dinghy boat and crossing the sea. Leaving Syria is not a choice.”

“I feel like he is my son,” says Martina with pride. “He accepts me, a bit different than his mother, he opens up to me a lot, like a friend too. We have been together seven months now and never had a big fight.”