It All Started with a Letter

“When Santander falls, I will be shot. I beg you to worry. I beg you to protect my child.“
With these modest words, Plan International began.


“WHEN SANTANDER FALLS, I WILL BE SHOT. I BEG YOU TO WORRY. I BEG YOU TO PROTECT MY CHILD”

This heartfelt cry of a father during the Spanish Civil War was pinned to the jacket of his 6 year-old son Jose. British war correspondent John Langdon-Davies found Jose, wandering the streets and did as Jose’s dad asked. Santander had fallen. Jose’s dad had been killed and thus, Plan International, as we know it today, was born.

The forerunner of Plan International was “The Foster Parents Plan for Children in Spain” which was founded by journalist Langdon-Davies and refugee worker Eric Muggeridge in 1937 to care for children whose lives had been disrupted by the Spanish Civil War.

During World War Two, Plan International expanded its work to include displaced children throughout Europe. Over the years, Plan International’s focus shifted from wartime relief to long-term community development. However, the rights and well-being of children remained at the centre of Plan International’s concerns. Today, Plan International is one of the largest international child-centred development organisations in the world operating in more than 70 countries.

In the 1950s, as Europe recovered, it became increasingly evident that children in countries further afield were also in need of help.

Plan International gradually began working with deprived children throughout Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean and today has grown to become one of the world’s largest international development organisations.

THROUGH THE YEARS

1937

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.

1940s

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.

1950s

As Europe recovered, Plan International 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.

1960s

Plan International 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.

1970s

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

1980s

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

1990s

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

2000’s

Plan International’s donor countries increased to 20 as offices opened in Colombia, India, Ireland, Hong Kong, Spain and Switzerland.

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

2015

Plan International undergoes a full brand refresh with each ‘Plan country’ adopting a unified identify – Plan International. Here in Ireland, from July 2015, we will adopt the name PLAN INTERNATIONAL IRELAND.

A QUICK LOOK BACK

From Harry Belafonte to Peter Ustinov, you are in good company.