Desperate for a better life, be it relief from war and persecution or simply an escape from grinding poverty and lack of opportunity, huge numbers of people from the Middle East and Africa have sought refuge in Europe in recent years - around 1.8 million of them since 2014.

Sometimes their dreams of sanctuary and welcome are realised; they make it to the continent, are granted leave to stay and, with help, begin the slow and difficult process of establishing a place for themselves. 

And sometimes it all goes terribly wrong; the dangers, setbacks and obstacles on the journey are simply too great to overcome and they are forced to give up or turn back, or the reception they get on arrival is so hostile and unforgiving that eventually they are deported or disenchantment drives them home.

In the first of two consecutive episodes exploring these contrasting experiences, People & Power has been to the small affluent city of Detmold, in north west Germany, the European country which under the government of Chancellor Angela Merkel, has taken in more refugees and migrants than any other and which, through generous state-funded welfare provision and language and job training, has sought to make a success of integration.  

Although this process is by no means universally popular across Germany - anti-migrant sentiment found in other parts of Europe is increasingly being echoed here too - in Detmold, at least, where the openheartedness of the local population is making a crucial difference, it appears to be working.

Source: Al Jazeera