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.

Our Mission

In partnership with the local church, Okoa Refuge exists to glorify Christ through stabilizing the family unit and transforming entire communities.

Our Values

Glorify God


Reaching the Unreached

Breaking Negative Cycles

Empowering Leaders

Sacrificial Service

Picture of a small girl laying down and giggling.

Our Journey so Far

  • 2008
  • 2009
  • 2013
  • 2014
  • 2017
  • 2021
  • 2021
  • 2023

Our Team

Presently, Okoa Refuge has over 250 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, lawyers, doctors, dentists, pastors, accountants, matrons, cooks, security guards, nurses, and farmers, each and every staff member plays a valuable role in the workings of the organization.

Meet Tyler Workman, Okoa Refuge CEO

Tyler Workman is the CEO of Okoa Refuge. After starting Okoa as a small children’s rescue center in Masaka, Uganda in 2008, he has grown the organization into a sprawling movement impacting tens of thousands each year in 9 different countries. Now leading a team of over 250, the dream is to expand operations across the entire African continent.

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.

Our Board of Directors

Okoa has been incredibly blessed by all of its board members. Each plays a different, yet valuable, role in the workings of the organization.

Our Staff

  • Raleigh Cortez, US Director of Operations and Development
  • Sarah Szarmack, Programs Manager
  • Destiny Cowart, Development Associate
  • Audrey Sowers, Programs Administrator