Manuela and Joerg Buisset and their daughter Noemi welcomed Nourhan, Ahmed and their daughter Alin into their home in the summer of 2015. The Syrian couple now has a second baby, Laith.

The people sharing their homes with refugees

Updated 8:20 PM ET, Sat September 3, 2016

(CNN)When hundreds of thousands of refugees began arriving in Berlin last summer, Manuela and Joerg Buisset abandoned plans to rent out their newly-renovated basement, and instead offered it to refugees in need of shelter.

Ahmed and Nourhan and their daughter Alin came to stay for 10 days, carrying all of their belongings in two small plastic bags. More than a year later, they and their new baby are now part of the Buisset family -- though it hasn't all been easy.
"Ahmed was very insecure and shy, but we thought he was stubborn," recalls Manuela. "He wouldn't make eye contact with us, which we thought was so impolite, but he thought it was rude to make eye contact ... He later told me he was just completely lost."
"We are so happy here," says Nourhan. Manuela went with Nourhan to all her medical appointments, and was at the hospital when baby Laith was born in July.
"At first I was scared," admits Manuela, "But we really, really like each other now."
Although they feel at home with the Buissets, the family longs to return to Al Quneitra in Syria -- when peace talks were held last November, they began packing their bags in the hope they could go back.
Architect Lars Asklund welcomed Syrian refugees Farah Hilal, Waleed Lababidi and Milad Hilal, into his home.

'We packed whatever we could and ran'

Architect Lars Asklund was so moved by the sight of thousands of refugees arriving in Sweden that he went to an immigration camp in his hometown of Malmo to try to help. While there, he met Waleed Lababdi.
"I asked him three questions: 'Are you married?' He said yes. 'Do you have kids?' He said no. I looked him straight in the eye and asked: 'Are you a fundamentalist?' He said no. I told him 'OK, I have a good proposal for you.'"
Lababdi and his wife Farah Hilal moved in with Asklund in November 2015; Farah's brother Milad Hilal joined them last Christmas.
The trio had fled their home in Syria in 2012, first moving from place to place within the country and then, when a missile landed across the street, leaving the country for good.
Now they have a new home with Asklund; the four eat breakfast together every day, and gather for Swedish lessons at the kitchen table each week.
"He cares so much," says Milad. "He studies with me, even when he comes late at night. We are so lucky to have met him."
Asklund says he too has benefited from the arrangement: "For me it's fun. It's fantastic, I have new friends and I really like them."
The Jellineks host Kinan in Berlin, Germany. From left to right: Rosa, Bela, Kinan, Kyra, Chaim, Joshy and Lilli.

'Integration is not one-sided work'

The Jellinek family is used to welcoming guests into their Berlin home for the weekly candle-lit Shabbat dinner, but now they have a regular -- and somewhat unlikely -- participant: Syrian Muslim Kinan.
"It's wonderful, because every Shabbat we meet new people," says 12-year-old Joshy. "Kinan brings his friends and friends of our family come too."
Kinan, 28, from Damascus, has lived with the Jellineks since November 2015, and now feels at home enough to cook Syrian meals for the family.
"We are both minorities in this country," says Chaim. "One thing we have in common is that our identities are very different from the majority in this society.
"Integration is not one-sided work," he says. "[It] is not something that we should only ask from people coming into our country, we should ask this of ourselves too. We must accept different food, different culture, behavior."
Wilhelm and Brian met Inas on a train just four days after he arrived in Germany; he moved in soon afterwards.

'To be completely helpless, that was the hardest thing'

Wilhelm and Brian met Syrian refugee Inas on a train shortly after he arrived in Germany; they struck up a conversation with the help of Google Translate, and swapped phone numbers at the end of their journey.
Inas, who was staying in an emergency shelter, reached out to them for help and advice, and asked if he could use them as a local contact when filling in paperwork. His first three-month permit to stay in Germany listed Brian and Wilhelm's home as his legal address.
"It came as quite a surprise to us of course," says Brian. "At first we were completely unsure of all the implications, three months is a long time. But we talked with our friends and decided: let's do it!"
The couple, who have been together for 25 years and married in 2011, were concerned about how he would react to their relationship."We knew we had to tell him we were gay," Wilhelm says. "So we showed him our wedding pictures. He shook our hands and said, 'No problem.'"
Fashion designer Inas, who is originally from Damascus, had to leave behind his thriving wedding dress company when he left Syria, carrying just a few bags. He initially struggled in Berlin.
"Suddenly I was not a grown up man with a life anymore," he says. "I felt like a child. Brian and Wilhelm helped me with everything ... To be completely helpless, that was the hardest thing."
Now he feels at home in the city, where he hopes to stay for good, and is working with a haute couture dressmaker.
Ahmad Lababidi and his son Ali moved in with Gabriella and Candel Webster after meeting through a refugee charity.

'They gave me life again'

Devout Muslim Ahmed and his teenage children Ali and Hiba were housed in a church when they first arrived in Malmo, Sweden after fleeing the civil war in Syria.
"They received us with so much love, compassion and care," says Ahmed. "They were angels."
Gabriella and Candel met the family while volunteering for charity Refugees Welcome; they offered Ahmed a room in their house -- but weren't sure how he'd react to their relationship.
"We told him we are married. He was very nice and polite but it all got very quiet," recalls Gabriella. "We thought he might change his mind."
The 45-year-old was shocked, but says he is hugely grateful to them for taking his family in: "I see how kind they are, I see their humanity, their love and kindness. They gave me life again."
Candel says she and Gabriella enjoy sharing their home, and that the arrangement is mutually beneficial: "We get an extended family, we get to know about a new language, great food, and culture and they get a fast track into society."
Newruz, a refugee from Homs in Syria, lives with Claudia and Tobias in Berlin, Germany.

'We are all refugees'

Berliners Claudia and Tobias grew up in the former East Germany, escaping to the West in the 1980s, and know only too well what it means to flee your home: "At the end of the day, we are all refugees," says Claudia.
They became friends with Newruz, from Homs in Syria, when he was living in a refugee center in Meissen, Tobias's hometown, but had to wait nine months before he got his papers and was able to move to Berlin to stay with them.
"This arrangement means we are equals," says Claudia. "Sometimes I catch myself mothering him a little, because we have children that are his age, but we are really more like flatmates."
"When we first told my father that Newruz would move in with us he smiled and his eyes sparkled," Tobias says. "I wasn't expecting such a positive reaction. He told us that ... when he was a child, they had a refugee woman from Poland living with them for a while too. The only difference is that today they come from further afield."
Newruz, who is taking German lessons and hopes to train to be a nursery teacher, says Berlin feels like a home from home.