Revealing God’s Radical Love & Redemption
Founded by Tyler and Liv Workman in 2008, Okoa Refuge began as a home for vulnerable children. When the Workmans moved to Uganda in 2012, what began as a dream to care for children became fuel to strengthen and transform entire communities—first in Uganda and now throughout East Africa. Our work continues to grow in response to the needs of the communities. We meet people where they are, to solve problems that they identify, with solutions they suggest. Scroll to learn how we walk this out.
In partnership with the local church, Okoa Refuge exists to glorify Christ through stabilizing the family unit and transforming entire communities.
Our Journey so Far
Sensing God’s call to something different, unique, really big, and outrageous to most people, Tyler and Liv Workman sit down in their living room with two good friends and establish Okoa Refuge.
Okoa receives its 501c3 recognition and shares the vision to rescue kids in Uganda. The McKenzie Noelle Wilson Foundation partners with Okoa to build the first part of the Rescue Center.
Okoa Refuge Bible School graduates its first class of 45 men and women. Since then, over 1,700 people have graduated from the 24-month intensive program, and 750 churches have been planted.
Agriculture is one of the cornerstones of Ugandan life. Okoa embarks on the journey to sustainability, cultivating 17 acres of coffee, 1,200 banana trees, and a variety of seasonal food crops.
In partnership with the friends and family of Cailyn Nelson, the House of Joy Clinic opens. The clinic has since become a hospital and provides the under-resourced with affordable, quality healthcare.
Tim Tebow Foundation links arms with Okoa to launch TOP. Committed to guiding women out of sex work, human trafficking, and abuse, TOP believes in restoration and life abundant for these survivors.
When a contract ended with an organization that ran a GBV shelter, the Ugandan government requested Okoa take over, ensuring vital services for survivors and continuing the fight for justice.
Okoa Refuge Opens a New Physiotherapy Center, and 2nd sites for both The Tebow Okoa Phillipi Project and an additional Gender-Based Violence Shelter Open
As part of Okoa’s Family and Disability Program, a physiotherapy center opens to support the many children and families navigating life with disabilities and/or significant medical needs in Uganda.
Presently, Okoa Refuge has over 200 full-time Ugandan and East African staff. We are steadfast in our commitment to develop and support indigenous leadership. Stateside, our team of dedicated staff partners with the on-the-ground team in East Africa, supporting the work and developing our many partnerships.
From administrators to social workers, matrons, cooks, security guards, nurses, and farmers, each and every staff member plays a valuable role in the workings of the organization.
Meet David Kalanda, Uganda COO
David Kalanda is the first full-time staff member that Okoa ever hired. He serves as the Chief Operations Officer and oversees all Okoa projects. As an integral part of operations, he closely supports the executive director and provides leadership to the on-the-ground team. He is the proud husband of Moureen, and together, they have three beautiful children.
- Tyler Workman, President
- Dr. Kim Dal Porto, Chairman
- Chris Foley, Vice-Chair
- Christy Popwell, Secretary
- Ginger Allen, Board Treasurer
- Glenn Doyle
- Sean Moore
- Rick Graham
- Chris Parker
- Josh Ehrenfeld
- Megan Phillips