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About us

Little girl from Plan UK

Taking action for children’s rights

About Plan International UK

Plan International UK is a children’s charity. We strive to advance children’s rights and equality for girls all over the world.

We recognise the power and potential of every single child. But this is often suppressed by poverty, violence, exclusion and discrimination. And it’s girls who are most affected. Our Because I am a Girl campaign is a global movement that’s taking action to see a world that values girls, promotes their rights and ends injustice.

We encourage and help children take an active role in finding solutions to their problems and realising their rights and their full potential.


Girl and Boy icon

Over 83,000 children in 48 countries sponsored through Plan International UK


Over 8 million peoplearound the world reached by our work in 2018-19

Image of a notebook and pencil

Over 50,000 people stood in solidarity with youth advocates in Uganda to stop the sexual exploitation of girls and young women at work

Our History

Our History

Originally named Foster Parents Scheme for Children in Spain, Plan International was founded in 1937 by British journalist and broadcaster John Langdon-Davies.  He was later joined by Eric Muggeridge, Esme Odgers, and Nick (Barton) Carter.  John Langdon-Davies had seen first-hand the plight of children orphaned during the Spanish Civil War and was determined to help.  He wanted to provide not only food, shelter, and education to the children but also a sense that someone, somewhere, was thinking about them as an individual.  

A pioneer of child sponsorship

In the beginning, the Foster Parents Scheme for Children in Spain asked British people to donate one shilling a day to provide a child with food and shelter and also asked them to write letters and send photos to the child to show them that someone cared about them.  This was the beginning of what we now call child sponsorship.

Changing as the world changed

During the Second World War, renamed Foster Parents Plan for War Children, we expanded to work with displaced children throughout war-torn Europe and continued to work in Europe through the 1950s. Over the following decades, Plan International extended its work to Asia and Africa and ended its work in Europe. Countries that were once helped by Plan have now become donor nations, including Spain, where it all began. Today, we work in more than 50 of the world’s poorest countries.

A significant proportion of our income still comes from supporters who sponsor children. We aim to spend at least 80% of our income on charitable activities, but this figure varies year-on-year. For more information on our income and expenditure, please see our Trustees' Annual Reports.


83% was spent on charitable activities and 17% was spent on raising funds and other activities. Of the charitable spend:

was spent on our long-term development work

was spent on our emergency response and disaster preparedness work

was spent on campaigning and awareness

Our Work

Helping children move themselves from a life of poverty to a future with opportunity


With access to education children can break the cycle of poverty and girls can transform their futures.

Where We Work

We work in more than 50 countries across Africa, Asia and the Americas


9,100 young people have graduated from our Youth Economic Empowerment programme in Tanzania.


Over 4,500 children in Nicaragua will receive training on tackling behaviours and attitudes that lead to children, particularly girls, being denied access to education.


In Bangladesh, 13,800 Rohingya refugees have been provided with water, sanitation and hygiene supplies, toilets and bathing spaces.
We work in more than 50 developing countries across Africa, Asia and the Americas.
Danny Vannucchi, International Campaigns Manager, Plan International UK

Our people

At Plan International UK, we come to work every day because we won’t stop until we create a just and fair world for girls - a vital step in building a better world for all children. It’s our people’s passion, commitment, expert knowledge and skills that enable us to create lasting change for children who need it most.

Meet a selection of the team – find out what makes them tick and get a taste of what it’s like to work for us.

Sazeda studies at home in Bangladesh

Safeguarding children and adults

We have well established systems and policies, including training for all our employees, to ensure that we do everything we can to safeguard the children and young people we work with, and that we provide a safe working environment for everyone.

Sponsor a child

Change a life today

When you sponsor a child, you support the entire community to lift themselves out of poverty. Support our development work by sponsoring a child today