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Our history

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 today

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.

Latest News
  • ‘Cutting season’ sees girls from the UK being taken abroad to undergo FGM. Discover 3 ways you can help stop FGM.
    21-Jul-16
  • As Sunday marks the 80th Anniversary of the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War, we look back on the conflict and circumstances of our founders who started Foster Parents’ Plan for Children in Spain – which over time became Plan International.
    16-Jul-16
Latest Blogs
  • Malawi has one of the world’s highest child marriage rates. Young girls who are victims of child marriage are often taken out of education leaving them with little choice over their future. For the next two weeks Plan International UK is collecting signatures in solidarity with young campaigners in Malawi who are looking to amend the constitution and end child marriage. Tionge tells us why she's campaigning to change the law.
    12-Jul-16
  • Malawi has one of the world’s highest child marriage rates. Young girls who are victims of child marriage are often taken out of education leaving them with little choice over their future. For the next two weeks Plan International UK is collecting signatures in solidarity with young campaigners in Malawi who are looking to amend the constitution and end child marriage. Tionge tells us why she's campaigning to change the law.
    12-Jul-16

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