Starting from humble beginnings in 1977 with the establishment of Windle International Kenya in Nairobi by founder Dr Hugh Austin Windle Pilkington, we now operate in Kenya, Uganda, Sudan, South Sudan, Somalia, the UK, the US, and Canada.

Today, we empower refugees and people affected by conflict to achieve their academic potential, and contribute to sustainable development, by acting as a lead provider of quality education and training. We run education and vocational training programmes, manage Early Childhood Development and Vocational Training Centres, manage primary and secondary schools, and deliver postgraduate scholarship programmes. Our vision is a world in which everyone has the opportunity through education and training to make the most of their potential and contribute to sustainable development.

A visionary with a breadth of insight

In 1977 Dr Hugh Pilkington was teaching at the University of Nairobi and pursuing his interest in ancient scriptural texts, which were written in the Ethiopic language of Geez. Through his work he met young refugees who had fled violence in Ethiopia, desperate to continue their education but unable to do so. Using his own funds and contacts, he sought to secure places at Cambridge or Oxford (where he had studied for his own Bachelors and PhD), to give them an opportunity to fulfil their education potential. 

Having realised the extent of the crisis and future repercussions for the whole region, Hugh established Windle International Kenya (then called Windle Trust Kenya) to sponsor young people who had the educational potential and commitment to their studies. The universities responded to this vision by offering scholarships, giving the students hope for their future. 

A visionary of breadth and insight, Hugh could see that unless the young of the country were able to get an education and continue their learning, when peace was declared and refugees returned there would be no-one in a position to sustain peace, to develop systems and infrastructure and rebuild the country. There was therefore a greater danger of returning to conflict. Hugh's understanding was ahead of its time, but is now recognised as a vital part of breaking the cycle of conflict. 

Hugh passionately believed in the power of the individual to make a difference.  He believed that Africans should be the architects of their own future and that the solutions and opportunities for peaceful development are contained within Africa and its people through access to good educational opportunities.

In 1988 Hugh Pilkington was tragically killed in a car accident when attending a conference in Canada on the Rights of Refugees. Today, his legacy lives on in the work of all the Windle members and the significant impact we make together in supporting refugees, host communities, internally-displaced people and communities who have been affected by conflict and marginalisation across Eastern Africa. 

Find out more about what we do here.