How it All Started
In 2001, Jade and Shelah Acker were serving at a camp for children affected by the war in Sudan. Their ministry centered around nine boys who helped to open the Acker’s eyes to the needs in the refugee community. In 2004, they founded Refuge and Hope and started exploring opportunities to serve a larger refugee population. Uganda was a relatively stable home to more than 440,000 refugees from Congo, Sudan, Somalia, Eritrea, and other countries and seemed to be a perfect place for a sustainable ministry. In 2008, the Ackers launched a program for English as a Second Language (ESL) and Christian Discipleship in an area of Kampala that was heavily populated with refugees. The first class hosted twelve students meeting in a small room. Today, Refuge and Hope has grown to serve over 500 refugee students daily and has expanded to offer educational, professional, personal, and spiritual development programs.