Wings of Hope International was developed in 1994 by children that had been imprisoned in the Dachau concentration camp. As adults, these people were horrified by the challenges facing children in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Pieter Dietz de Loos, the founder and original president of Wings of Hope International explains the problems facing young people after war and the foundation’s aims:

“Treating war trauma is a long process. It will take generations. I see the mind’s reaction to this trauma as sound reactions to those unsound happenings. We therefore need not feel ashamed when we feel unhappy or guilty for being alive, or when we cannot enjoy life, which we do from time to time. Or when we have nightmares and other unpleasant reactions. Wings of Hope, established for this purpose, is committed to this work”.

The founders named Wings of Hope after a drawing of a girl who had been expelled from her hometown. She entitled her picture “butterflies have short lives”. This had a strong impact not only in naming “Wings of Hope”, but in the direction of the organisation: to prevent further children from having such a tragic view of life. Wings of Hope International was based in Wassenaar, The Netherlands, and branches have since been developed in Sarajevo, Munich, Iraq and Palestine/Israel.