Our History

Windle Trust International’s work is the legacy of Dr Hugh Austin Windle Pilkington, who dedicated his life to helping refugees access further education.   He drew his inspiration from the young Ethiopian refugees he met through his academic work at Nairobi University in the 1970s. He became increasingly concerned with the plight of African refugees arriving in Kenya and with the need for educational development in Kenya. In 1977 Windle Trust Kenya was established to support the education of talented refugee and Kenyan students in order to realise their potential.  

Dr Pilkington believed strongly in the value of education for personal and professional development, and that refugees should have equal access to educational opportunities.   After his death in 1986 his personal estate was used to establish a trust in his name (The Hugh Pilkington Charitable Trust “HPCT”). Since then, his work has been expanded to respond to the educational needs of conflict-affected communities in Uganda and the Sudan in the 1990s and South Sudan since 2005. Windle Trust Uganda registered as an independent organisation in 2004.

Windle Trust International (WTI) registered as a charity in 2002 and is a company limited by guarantee in the UK. WTI formerly operated as HPCT and was formed to manage the operations of the Trust.

‘Father Hugh’ was a mentor, a source of inspiration and hope to the many refugees he assisted: ‘a rare and prominent example of a man’s will to change the human condition through individual effort’ (Jean-Pierre Hocke, former UN High Commissioner for Refugees).

Picture of Hugh Pilkington as a young man

Dr. Pilkington