In 1937, British journalist, John Langdon-Davies, founded Foster Parents Plan for Children in Spain to help children whose lives were disrupted by the Spanish Civil War. By 1938, 300 Spanish children were sponsored by Plan. The following year, Eleanor Roosevelt became a Plan sponsor, continuing to support Plan for many years.
During WWII, Plan changed its name to Foster Parents Plan for War Children, supporting children displaced by war in England. By 1945, Plan had extended aid to children across Europe and in China. As Europe recovered from the war, Plan began programs in less developed countries, realizing the need elsewhere in the world.
By 1960, Plan had expanded its work to several countries in Asia and South America. In 1968, Foster Parents Plan of Canada was incorporated into the Plan family, which, by the 70’s, became known as Plan International, with programs spanning Latin America, the Caribbean, Asia and Africa. By 1980, Plan sponsorship had reached 400,000, and new donor countries continued to join the federation in the fight against poverty.
Plan marked its 60th anniversary in 1990 by reaching an incredible milestone - supporting its one millionth sponsored child, a young girl from Mali. By 1999, the number of Plan-sponsored children grew to over 1.2 million children. A decade later, Plan began highlighting the unique challenges faced by girls in the developing world, launching our Because I am a Girl initiative in Canada to promote gender equality in the countries where we work.
In 2011, Plan Canada, supported by the Canadian government, successfully led the call for the United Nations to adopt an international Day of the Girl, with the world celebrating its first official International Day of the Girl Child on October 11, 2012.
Later that year, Plan celebrated its 75th anniversary, marking our continued commitment to children’s rights around the world.