Originally named 'Foster Parents Plan for Children in Spain', Plan was founded in 1937 by British journalist John Langdon-Davies and aid worker Eric Muggeridge. They had seen firsthand the plight of children such as José, orphaned by the civil war in Spain, and were determined to help.
‘This is José. I am his father. When Santander falls I shall be shot. Whoever finds my son, I beg of him to take care of him for my sake.’
A note pinned to a little boy in Spain, 1937
Their plan was to provide food, shelter and clothing to children orphaned during the Spanish Civil War. Through games and activities, the children were helped to learn the skills they needed to cope with the trauma of the war.
A pioneer of child sponsorship
In the beginning British people were asked to donate one shilling a day to provide a child with food and shelter. They were also asked to write letters to the child to show them that someone cared about them. This was the beginning of what we now call child sponsorship.
Changing as the world changed
During the Second World War, we expanded to work with displaced children throughout war-torn Europe.
From the 1950s, as Europe recovered, we gradually began working with deprived children throughout Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean. To reflect this, we changed our name to Plan International.
Plan is now a global children’s charity, working with children in 50 of the world’s poorest countries to help them build a better future. We also campaign and advocate for every child’s right to fulfil their potential.
The plan today is to help children move themselves from a life of poverty to a future with opportunity.
Child sponsorship is still at the heart of our organisation. We have over one million sponsors in 20 countries helping children all over the world, together with their families and communities.
Plan is independent, with no political or religious affiliation.