Dr Hugh Austin Windle Pilkington (1942-1986) was a British- born educator and philanthropists. He was the son of roger Windle Pilkington (born 17 January 1915, died 5 may 2003 who in 1962 became the president of the London Missionary Society.
Hugh’s great-great grandfather Richard Pilkington founded Pilkington Brothers Ltd, an early glass manufacturing company. Richard’s son William Windle Pilkington, transformed the company by patenting many innovative methods of glass manufacture. Hugh’s grandfather, Richard Austin Pilkington, was at one time a chairman of the company. Members of the family became beneficiaries of company trusts.
Hugh was brilliant and eccentric student who among other pursuits flew his academic mentors and fellow students in his private plane on exhilarating jaunts to many parts of England including to the island of Jersey in the English Channel where his parents lived. At Cambridge in the 1960s, he was named the top classical scholar in his graduation year having gained a double first degree and was awarded several university prizes. He then worked for the family firm, Pilkington Glass in Germany and elsewhere but came to realize that he was not suited to the world commerce.
He travelled to Africa to translate the Bible and in 1972 he joined the Theology and Philosophy Department of the University of Nairobi. He became interested in the book of Proverbs and its early manuscripts of Coptic origin. This launched him on an oxford doctoral degree. It also required him to read manuscripts in Ge’ez, the almost extinct church language of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church. To learn Ge’ez, Hugh found two young Ethiopian refugees to teach him the language in exchange for board and lodging in his Nairobi home. In 1979 Hugh was awarded a doctorate from Oxford. His doctoral thesis, on the Ethiopic version of the Book of Proverbs remains the only scholarly record of this topic.
Through his contact with two Ethiopian refugees who assisted him in his doctoral studies, he became increasingly involved with supporting other young refugees to continue their studies at universities in Africa and overseas. In 1977, he set up the Windle Charitable Trust in Kenya to support refuges and needy Kenyan students.
In 1980 Hugh left his university post and dedicated himself full time to providing educational opportunities particularly for refugees. Hugh valued his education highly and believed that good education was a key to promoting positive change in Africa and this became the vocation of the last ten years of his life: to help rebuild the lives of young Africans driven from their countries because of political beliefs and ethnic origins
He became increasingly concerned with the plight of African refugees arriving in Kenya and with the need for educational development in Kenya. He opened his home in Nairobi to refugees from other parts of Africa, particularly from Ethiopia and Eretria, and subsequently financed their education in universities in the UK, North America and as far abroad as Fiji. He arranged for scholarship for hundreds of refugees. He was their counsellor and their friend. He also helped run a small hostel for homeless refugees, presided over a teachers’ committee for a refugee school, planned old people’s homes and often assisted individual refugees including bailing detained refugees out of prison.
On 16th October 1986, he was tragically knocked down by a car in Canada. At the time he was on a tour of Canadian universities to speak about the plight of African refugees, promote university scholarships for refugees and visit African students whom he had helped to place in Canadian universities and colleges. As the UNHCR High Commissioner at the time, Jean Pierre Hocke, observed, Hugh was an outstanding example of the capacity of one man to improve the human condition by individual effort
Before his death, he had made arrangements for his estate to be used to set up a foundation to promote the education of refugees and in 1988 the Hugh Pilkington Charitable Trust (HPCT) was established in the UK. In 2002 Windle Trust International (WTI) was formed to manage the programs of HPCT as a charitable company limited by guarantee. Since Hugh’s death the Windle Trusts, which are built on the foundation of the work he started has assisted over twenty thousand young people in Africa whose lives have been blighted by conflict.
Today, Dr. Hugh Austin Windle Pilkington’s legacy lives in the work of the various Windles in Kenya, Sudan, South Sudan, Uganda, Somalia and the United Kingdom and the significant impact we make in supporting refugees and host communities through provision of education opportunities.
Windle International Uganda (WIU) is an International Non-Governmental Organization registered in Uganda providing access to Education for refugees in 12 refugee settlements country wide. Our mandate is to expand access to and improve the quality of education for refugees and communities affected by conflict, neglect, or discrimination.
WIU is a member of Windle International which also implements educational programmes in Kenya and Somalia through Windle International Kenya and Windle International Somalia. A sister trust, Windle Trust International implements educational programmes in Sudan and South Sudan, and a postgraduate scholarship programme for African students at UK universities.
WIU was established in 1996 with the aim of promoting peace and development in communities. We provide access to quality education and training and advocate for the rights and needs of the underserved people.
In partnership with the government of Uganda through, the Prime Minister’s office and development partners, we operate on all stages of education, from early childhood development to primary, secondary, graduate, post-graduate and vocational training. Our education interventions help students to think creatively about development challenges, and discover ways to solve them.
Over the last 27 years, we have made great strides in delivering education programmes for refugees in the districts of; Yumbe, Koboko, Adjumani, Moyo, Obongi, Arua, Madi-Okollo, Terego, Kiryandongo, Kikuube, Kyegwegwa, Kamwenge, Isingiro, Lamwo and in Kampala where the head office is located.
WIU currently employs over 3,000 humanitarian workers across 11 refugee settlements in Uganda to deliver our program areas of; Education Management, Scholarships Management, Research and Policy Advocacy, Youth Engagement, and Institutional Management. WIU approach in managing education helps students to think creatively about development challenges, and promote self-realization
Educated, Empowered and Inspired Young People
To promote peace and development in communities through provision and coordination of education and training for refugees and people affected by conflict.
Respect for Individuals
WIU shall value and uphold with dignity the potential and worth of every individual, including beneficiaries, staff, partners and stakeholders.
WIU shall promote fairness through equitable treatment and nurturing of staff and beneficiaries.
Honesty and Transparency
WIU shall operate with honesty and transparency with donors, beneficiaries, stakeholders and within the organization.
WIU shall adhere to the highest professional standards in the management of its programmes.
WIU shall practice responsible stewardship of resources by ensuring efficient and prudent use of funds and equipment & by always seeking value for money.
At Windle International Uganda, we understand our increasing role in the humanitarian space and the need to work with other aid agencies to safeguard those we serve from sexual harassment, exploitation and abuse. The safety and wellbeing of all Persons of Concerns as they come into contact with our services across all operations is something we take seriously.
Child protection and safeguarding is therefore a vital process that protects children and adults from harm, abuse, and neglect.
As passionate advocates for fundamental human rights, we have dedicated measures in place that prevent the abuse of all people, particularly those who fall within our support systems, including women, children, and vulnerable people. We are aware that the opportunities and services provided through our programmes can create a power differential between those who are employed by us and potential programme participants. We acknowledge that there is a risk for this power imbalance to be exploited.
We have put in place guidelines and policies to ensure that those under our care are protected from any form of abuse. It is the duty of every WIU staff member in a school or at a workplace including contractors to safeguard all children, provide awareness and the right services to those who are unable to protect themselves from abuse, harm and neglect.
We also have a comprehensive Global Safeguarding and Protection Framework which has been developed to ensure the maximum protection of programme participants across all countries of operation from exploitation, and to clarify the responsibilities of our staff, volunteers and visitors to the projects and the standards of behaviour expected from them.
Download our Global Safeguarding & Protection Policy Framework
Download our Safeguarding Code of Conduct