Okoa Founders

Just two months after they were married, Tyler and Hanna Liv Workman knew the Lord was calling them to something different...something unique...something that seemed really big and outrageous to most people who heard their vision.

On October 24, 2008, they sat down in their living room with two good friends and incorporated Okoa Refuge in Florida. Shortly after, they applied for their 501(c)3 not for profit status...and after a lot of paperwork, some invaluable help from friends, and hours of prayer, they received their tax exempt status on July 9, 2009. 

Okoa started with a dream...and the dream hasn't changed. It has grown and matured. It has become even more than Tyler or Liv ever imagined it would.

What started as a dream...
What started as a home for just a few children...
What started as two newlyweds who lived off half their outside income and poured the rest into the organization...
What started as two full time workers who, after selling, packing and shipping everything they owned, couldn't even afford to pay themselves from the meager donations to the organization...
...has become an incredible movement of God in Uganda. 

They reside permanently in Masaka, Uganda where they joyfully and wildly raise their six children. 

Back: Judah, Dennis, Tyler, Liv, Gunnar and Shamilah
Front: Gunnar and Bear

The team

Presently, Okoa Refuge has seventy full time Ugandan staff and three full time American staff members. Each and every staff member has an important and valuable role in the workings of the organization. These staff members range from administrators to social workers, matrons, cooks, security guards, nurses and farmers!

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Kalanda David

David was the first full time staff member that Okoa ever hired. He is an integral part of Okoa and the Workman's lives. He is Tyler's righthand man and surely Okoa would not be what it is without his hand in each and every thing. He serves as the Chief of Operations in Uganda and oversees all of Okoa's projects. He is the proud husband of Moureen and, together, they have two beautiful children.


Kelsey linduff

Kelsey has been with Okoa since 2013. Her love for the kids is inspiring! She currently works as Okoa's sponsorship program coordinator and does a phenomenal job of creating that relationship between sponsor and child. She is an artist, a muralist and a photographer. Her creativity and talents have helped make Okoa more colorful!


Kintu AYubu

Kintu started at Okoa in 2013 as the pioneer of our social work department. He loves children and is passionate about their rights and seeing them reach their full potential. Since then, he has been promoted to the position of Project Facilitator and he is responsible for facilitating the relationship between the organization and the local church. He is married and has one beautiful daughter named Abigail! 


amy hardy

Though she has been a sponsor for years, Amy started working for Okoa in 2016. She came on board with Okoa during the time when the organization desperately needed someone to fill the position of Business Administrator! Her time, talents and wisdom are what keeps Okoa running in the States. Based in Florida, she and her husband are raising two beautiful little girls.

The board

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

Christy Popwell, Chairman
Chris Kinnaman, Secretary
Dr. Paul Larson
April Devine
Dr. Kim Dal Porto
Chris Parker
Chris Foley
Rachel Douglass
Sean Moore
Rick Graham

Special thanks

There are so many people who give of their time and talents in order to help Okoa run as smoothly as possible! While we can't list every single person who has ever played a role in the ministry of Okoa, please know that we are so so thankful for each and every one of you! Special and extra thanks go out to:

Sarah Szarmack
Leslie Workman
Stephanie Summers