Windle Trust International’s work is the legacy of Dr Hugh Austin Windle Pilkington, a man 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. Hugh became increasingly concerned with the plight of African refugees arriving in Kenya and with the need for educational development there. In 1977 Hugh established Windle Trust Kenya to support the education of talented refugee and Kenyan students to realise their potential.
Hugh 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”). HPCT expanded to respond to the educational needs of conflict-affected communities in Uganda and then Sudan in the 1990s, with HPCT’s programme operations becoming part of a newly registered Windle Trust International from 2002.
Windle Trust Uganda became an independent organization in 2004, whilst WTI began operations in what is now South Sudan in 2005.
WTI now manages its programmes from its offices in Khartoum (Sudan), Juba (South Sudan) and Oxford (UK) whilst enjoying close relations with its sister trusts in Kenya and Uganda. From 2013, this relationship was formalised through the creation of Windle International, a confederation of Windles that unites Windle Trust International, and the renamed independent trusts of Windle International Kenya (WIK) and Windle International Uganda (WIU).
Like all Windles, WTI benefits from the continued support of Dr Hugh Pilkington’s legacy and the Hugh Pilkington Charitable Trust, who continue to provide funding to support programme operations.
‘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).