The SAVIE Foundation (formerly the Wij Helpen Daar Foundation) was founded in 1993 by Sten Fierant, a student who was studying law in Leiden at the time. In 1991, the civil war in former Yugoslavia broke out, which resulted in a series of ethnic conflicts that broke up Yugoslavia.
In 1992 it was revealed that internment camps existed in Bosnia and Herzegovina. In these internment camps, executions were carried out and people were tortured and starved; an echo that resembles the concentration camps of the Second World War. After WWII and after the promise that such camps would never be allowed to come again, they were back in Europe: the camps to banish or even destroy a population group based on descent, religion or social beliefs. Some 600 survivors ended up in Haarlem via the UNHCR and under the protection of the United Nations.
With great effort, Fierant managed to visit these refugees. He set up a social program to create distraction for the residents of the center. Through these activities he got to know people from both the municipality and the refugee work, and he eventually joined Leiden-Dalmacija. In the summer of 1993 he left with a delegation to Dalmatia, the island of Ciovo near Trogir, to build up a partnership.
On 11 November 1993, Fierant placed an advertisement in the Leiden student magazine "Mare". 25 people came forward out of interest. Shortly afterwards, a first meeting took place at "De Bakkerij". This meeting was attended by eighteen persons, the majority of whom were students. The idea of the Wij Helpen Daar Foundation was born at that meeting and the organization was established within a week. Ever since the founding of our foundation, we kept on providing material and personal help in former Yugoslavia. This has resulted in us helping 15 different projects throughout the years. As of 2018, our foundation carries the name SAVIE (Students Abroad Volunteering In Eastern Europe) instead of "Wij helpen daar"