Plan International's approach is to strengthen communities by strengthening the situation of the children and youth. The Plan donor connects to one specific child or youth, but the monthly funds go towards educational, health related and other programs in the area where the sponsored child lives. Yet Plan gently pushes (by sending reminders, by supplying stationary) the direct communication between donor and child. To receive a personal letter 2 or 3 times a year from your sponsored child makes the monthly contributions more real - although you know they go to the community and thus only indirectly to the child. But still, these letters are very special.I value this approach as many people benefit from it, and thus elevate entire villages or even regions. My husband and I just recently (March 2017) had the opportunity and privilege to visit our foster child Keysi in the Dominican Republic. The Plan office in the general area where she lives has about 25 to 30 staff members. Over the course of the day many of the social workers take off on their mopeds to check on or teach or hold meetings in their specific village. Each village has a small simple Plan community center. Here are a few examples of the projects and programs that Plan offers or gets involved in in this area: Early childhood stimulation - kind of a kindergarden/preschool to support the physical, cognitive and socio-emotional development of young children. Special support for 3rd and 4th grade children with learning difficulties. Nutritional classes for children and parents. Money management for youth and parents, learn how to save and how to budget, and get micro-loans. Childrens Rights project teaching children about their rights and parents how to discipline without abuse. Empowerment of girls projects with an emphasis on equal right as well as sexuality and prevention of teen pregnancies. There are many more projects, but those were the ones that the Plan people talked about. Plan organized our visit very well. We had a driver, a translater and a field worker who gave us their whole day to show us around. We first met our foster child Keysi who is 14 years old at school. We pretty much crashed her English class, and it was a very emotional first meeting. Apart from the personal connection I was happy to see that the school was pretty new, in very good shape, and all girls and boys were wearing nice school uniforms, including Keysi. However, I am not sure to what extent Plan contributes to the school, the learning equipment and the uniform, and if the school provides meals or not. At a different school, a small primary school, we met Keysi's mother who is a teacher. This too was a very emotional encounter. The Plan people took all of us including Keysi and her mother to several villages in the area where we met neighbors and friends, and visited Plan community centers. We all went out to lunch to further talk and connect. Later we all drove to Keysi's home and met her father and her brothers. I was pleasantly impressed to see that they lived in a nice small home that they had built themselves over the course of several years. It appeared to have running water and electrical, and Keysi as the only girl had her own bedroom! Overall I had the impression that Plan is doing an excellent job in this area. I am very happy with this organization. I have been with them for over 20 years. The only thing I wished they would change is that they would allow for the children, once they "graduate" from the program at age 18, to stay in touch with their donors if they so wish. It was always hard for me to just cut off the relation and never hear a word again from the child that's been somewhat part of your life for many years......
I have had a child since 1986. I had pen pals in school and this is even better since I can help a child and the family writes to me and I them, sharing life with them. I have had children write to me from all over the world and it makes me feel good knowing the children are thinking of me and they know I am thinking and caring about them. I convinced my daughter to give it a try and she was happy she started. The proof that they receive my help is in these letters they send. I will continue to share our lives with letters and help them and their families. The people I deal with who pass along the help and letters have always been friendly and helpful when I call the 800 number. Great Organization!
I have never given money to Plan; in fact, I convinced my mother not to give to their child sponsorship a couple of years ago, because of the rating. However, I am now prepared to donate to this charity because of the work I saw they were doing in Zimbabwe. I have just returned from a mission trip there where we are supporting an orphan trust. Everywhere I went, people at schools and clinics were saying that PLAN had made contributions and donations that were invaluable. Anyone who helps my friends is a friend to me. I also am pleased that they have no religious or government affiliation.
Review from CharityNavigator