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John Langdon-Davies

John Langdon-Davies co-founded Plan in 1937

Plan is celebrating more than 75 years of working with and for children. Founded in 1937 by British journalist John Langdon-Davies and refugee worker Eric Muggeridge, Plan’s original aim was to provide food, accommodation and education to children whose lives had been disrupted by the Spanish Civil War.

Langdon-Davies conceived the idea of a personal relationship between a child and a sponsor - a model that puts the child at the centre, and remains the core of what we do.

Today, Plan is a global organisation that works in 50 developing countries to promote child rights and lift millions of children out of poverty.

Through the years


In 1937, Plan was founded as ‘Foster Parents Plan for Children in Spain' to help children whose lives were disrupted by the Spanish Civil War.


Eleanor Roosevelt with 3 children she sponsored through Plan

US First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt (left) with 3 children she sponsored through Plan in 1942

During World War II, the organisation became known as ‘Foster Parents Plan for War Children' and worked in England, helping displaced children from all over Europe. After the war, the organisation extended aid to children in France, Belgium, Italy, the Netherlands, Germany, Greece and briefly in Poland, Czechoslovakia and China.


As Europe recovered, Plan gradually moved out of these countries and opened new programmes in less developed countries. The organisation removed the reference to war children and became ‘Foster Parents Plan Inc.' to reflect the goal of bringing lasting change to the lives of children in need, whatever their circumstances.


Plan expanded its work in Asia and to countries in South America. In 1962, US First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy was honorary chairwoman during Plan's Silver Jubilee.


Ingrid Bergman and Edna Blue

Actress Ingrid Bergman (left) with Plan's Edna Blue in a post World War II drive for shoes

The global name became ‘Plan International' as programmes now spanned Latin America and the Caribbean, Asia and Africa.


Belgium, Germany, Japan and the UK joined Canada, the US, Australia and the Netherlands as donor countries. Plan was recognised by the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations.


Plan marked its 60th anniversary of helping children. Offices opened in France, Norway, Finland, Denmark, Sweden and the Republic of Korea.


Plan's donor countries increased to 21 as offices opened in Colombia, India, Ireland, Italy, Hong Kong, Spain and Switzerland.

The name Plan International evolved to simply ‘Plan' and a unified global identity was created to help make the organisation more easily recognised around the world.

The new logo was shown to sponsored children in all the regions where Plan works, and they loved the playing child and the warm sun. This image is consistent with Plan's approach to put the child at the centre of what we do.