During the Spanish Civil War in 1937, as many as 11,000 refugees a day were passing through the railway station at Santander in Spain. Many were orphaned children. Among them, was a little boy whose father had pencilled this note:
"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 British journalist, John Langdon-Davies, met the orphaned boy with this note and was inspired to found ‘Foster Parents Plan for Children in Spain’ to help children whose lives were disrupted by the war.
Langdon-Davies’ organization expanded to help children from all over Europe who were displaced by the war, listening to their dreams and aspirations while equipping them with the skills and knowledge to improve their lives and make a better future. This approach is still very much at the core of Plan's work today with 119 million people in more than 58,000 communities in developing countries around the world.
Here’s a brief timeline of Plan’s evolution:
1930s - Plan was founded as "Foster Parents Plan for Children in Spain."
1940s - During World War II, the organization became known as "Foster Parents Plan for War Children" and worked in England, helping displaced children from all over Europe. After the war, Plan extended aid to children in France, Belgium, Italy, the Netherlands, Germany, Greece and briefly in Poland, Czechoslovakia and China.
1950s - As Europe recovered, Plan gradually moved out of these countries and opened new programs in less developed countries. It became "Foster Parents Plan Inc." to reflect the goal of bringing lasting change to the lives of children in need, whatever their circumstances.
1960s - Foster Parents Plan of Canada was incorporated in 1968. Plan expanded its work to countries in South America and Asia. In 1962, U.S. First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy was honorary chairwoman during Plan's Silver Jubilee.
1970s - In 1974, the global name became Plan International as programs now spanned South America, Asia and Africa.
1980s - 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.
1990s - Plan offices opened in France, Norway, Finland, Denmark, Sweden and the Republic of Korea.
2000s - The name Plan International evolved to simply be "Plan" and a unified global identity was created to help make the organization more easily recognized around the world. In 2006, Foster Parents Plan in Canada also changed its name to Plan and our logo was updated to reflect this name change.