In 1937, Plan International was founded as ‘Foster Parents Plan for Children in Spain' to help children whose lives were disrupted by the Spanish Civil War.
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, we extended aid to children in France, Belgium, Italy, the Netherlands, Germany, Greece and briefly in Poland, Czechoslovakia and China.
As Europe recovered, we 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.
We expanded work in Asia and to countries in South America. In 1962, US First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy was honorary chairwoman during Plan's Silver Jubilee.
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. We were recognised by the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations.
We marked our 60th anniversary of helping children. Offices opened in France, Norway, Finland, Denmark, Sweden and the Republic of Korea.
Our donor countries increased to 21 as offices opened in Colombia, India, Ireland, Italy, Hong Kong, Spain and Switzerland.
In 2017, we are marking our 80th anniversary of helping children. We are active in over 70 countries to advance children’s rights and equality for girls. Our work reached 17.1 million girls and 15.5 million boys last year.