about us

the story of tamarind

The Tamarind tree is native to Africa and is one of the strongest trees on the continent - not even an elephant can knock it down!   It produces fruit for the local community, shade for animals and perches for birds.  Like its namesake, Tamarind Australia is a strong organisation whose presence in Northern Uganda provides sustenance, shelter and supports the local community, helping them to grow and develop into a thriving people group. 

Our Founders

Sarah & Christopher Ochaya are the founders and directors of Tamarind.  Married in 2011 they have three children, Zachariah, Eli and Lillie.

About Sarah

Sarah is from the southern suburbs of Sydney, Australia and graduated from Tabor bible College with a Bth Counselling in 2000, after owning a private counselling practice and working as a counsellor at schools and colleges for a number of years.  Sarah first visited Africa in 2005 and this began a love affair with the country and its people. 

Sarah periodically visited Uganda from 2006-2009, fundraising and leading teams to build classrooms and homes for orphans with Watoto Ministries, but in 2010 she sold her possessions and committed to a year volunteering in Uganda.  While volunteering in Internally Displaced People's Camps and in trauma rehabilitation centres she came to understand that poverty and pain are deeply internalised through a generational cycle that needed to be broken. This opinion was strongly shared by her translator and language teacher, her colleague Christopher Ochaya.

About Chris

A native Ugandan Acholi man, Chris graduated from Makeree University in 2008 with a BA Education, majoring in Religious studies and History. He also studied Business and Marketing during his University years and and worked with street children part time. He has also taken part in other education programs such as School of community Leadership, and his key strengths and skills are teaching, community relations and social work. Chris is passionate about seeing change and breaking the poverty cycle, and it was during his time working in IDP (Internally Displaced Peoples) camps that he met and fell in love with Sarah.

Team Ochaya

Sarah & Chris married in Australia in 2011 and the mandate over their lives was clear: LOVE GOD and LOVE PEOPLE. 

In 2012 they founded Tamarind as a Community Based Organisation, and were joined by their first son Zachariah, who was followed in 2014 by second son Eli.  In 2014, Lillie was taken into Sarah and Chris' care at just one week old. Despite having a toddler and an infant, Lillie was readily included in the family and in 2019 the adoption of Lillie was formalised in Uganda. 


Tamarind Australia is a non-profit unincorporated association registered in Australia and administered by a volunteer board, chaired by Bruce McKay.  It exists to alleviate poverty with a particular focus on Northern Uganda. 

The Governance Board of Members can be contacted at australiatamarind@gmail.com 

© Copyright Tamarind Australia