About The Trust
Windle Trust International invests in the education and training of refugees, the displaced and other communities emerging from conflict, in order to promote peaceful development in Eastern and Central Africa.
In 1977, Hugh Pilkington set up the Windle Charitable Trust in Kenya to support needy Kenyan students. In addition, inspired by his contact with refugees stranded in Kenya, he personally assisted refugees to study in Kenya and elsewhere, including at British universities. Hugh believed that good education could equip the people of Africa to meet the challenges they face.
In 1986 Hugh was tragically killed in a car accident in Canada. Before his death he had made arrangements for his personal estate to be used to set up a foundation to promote the education of refugees - in 1988 the Hugh Pilkington Charitable Trust (HPCT) was established in the UK.
In 2002 Windle Trust International (WTI) was formed to manage the programmes of HPCT as a charitable company limited by guarantee. WTI and HPCT have continued to pursue and develop Hugh Pilkington's vision. Over the years this has included the setting up of regional offices in Sudan, Uganda, Ethiopia and South Sudan, as well as a joint project with the Sudanese community, which later became an independent charity, called 'Skills for Southern Sudan'.
WTI currently has offices in the UK, Sudan and South Sudan. WTI works with and supports partner Windle Trusts in Uganda and Kenya, and continues to have close links with Skills for Southern Sudan.
Hugh Pilkington's full name was Hugh Austin Windle Pilkington. When he set up the trust in Kenya to assist refugees he used the name Windle Charitable Trust because he wanted to act anonymously. Windle is a family name of the Pilkingtons (the founders of the international glass business) and is also a village near St Helen's in Lancashire where the firm is based.
One of the tragedies of Africa’s long-term conflicts is the waste of human resources as people are displaced from their farms, villages and towns to sit for years in refugee camps, waiting, with little possibility of taking control over their own lives or being able to help themselves. They long to invest in their future through education and training. Out of frustration some resettle to Western countries and their talents are lost to Africa altogether.
Education not only helps individuals. It equips them to promote stable development in their communities through work as doctors, teachers, community leaders, nurses, managers, technical experts, lawyers, social workers, academics and tutors, and in many other roles.
Windle’s investment in the education and training of refugees helps to provide countries and communities with the professional and leadership skills they need. It also encourages those who are assisted to stay in Africa and make a major contribution to rebuilding their communities and their countries.
Former Windle students are now helping to rebuild countries such as Ethiopia, Rwanda, Eritrea, Sudan and Uganda which are recovering from long periods of conflict. Their professional skills will help to ensure that conflict does not return.