In 2013, our founders met in Fort Portal, Uganda.
Robert and Milly were faithfully serving their community and taking in children who were former victims of child labor and abuse. They had no income and limited resources. Their trust was in God to provide for them.
Andrew was on a trip to Uganda trying to find a more genuine expression of his faith. It just so happened that he ended up staying in Robert and Milly’s home.
For eight days they shared meals, dreams, and their hopes for a better world.
A few months after returning to the United States, Andrew couldn’t shake the sense that his life and calling was directly tied to the people he had just met in Uganda. He came up with a plan to create resources so Robert and Milly could adequately care for the children they were taking in off the streets. After much consideration and prayer they decided to embark on a journey together and so RUJA ( which means “to dream”) was born.
Robert and Milly began taking in more children with no homes or family to call their own while Andrew shared their story with anyone who would listen.
Years later, one of those original kids are in nursing school. The rest are studying hard and chasing their dreams all within the context of a loving family.
This restorative experience and the words of Jesus have led us to our core belief that love changes everything. We are convinced that if people love God and their neighbor good things are going to start happening.
These days, RUJA is primarily focused on addressing the root causes of poverty in rural Uganda. Our work there is led completely by Ugandans who look and sound like the people they serve. This is an important part of our desire to restore dignity and undo the negative effects that colonialism and the traditional charity model has had on much of Uganda and Africa. We do not give financial handouts that can create unhealthy dependency, but instead choose to use our resources to empower through education and hands-on training.
We are not heroes. We are guides and facilitators working to empower the materially poor in rural Uganda.