Our story – meet the initiator and co-founder of JLOF

Our hero - Tamar "Samali" Opira

Today, on International Women’s Day, we want to take the opportunity to write about Tamar “Samali” Opira, who was the co-founder and initiator of JLOF. Her parents were pioneers in that they sent all their children to school at a time when education for girls was not valued and opposed. Tamar was given a chance to get an education and is one of the first girls in Uganda to get an education. After primary school in Kitgum and High School in Gulu, she chose to study to become a midwife. She got good grades and got into the prestigious Mengo School of Nursing and Midwifery. After completing her education, she married Jeremiah Lucas Opira. 

Tamar Opira kept a low profile but wholeheartedly supported her husband’s involvement in the independence movement for an independent Uganda. In connection with the military coup in 1971, the family fled and ended up in exile, including in refugee camps in Tanzania. These were challenging times, meaning the family was split up while on the run and alone for long periods with the children she cared for. The family came to Sweden in 1974 as quota refugees and were able to be reunited through UNHCR. When Tamar returned to Uganda a few years after the passing of Jeremiah Lucas Opira, she encountered many people who were in need of support and help, the need was particularly great in the post-war areas of the northern region. Tamar Opira therefore decided to start an organization that would contribute to education for children in marginalized areas and other projects that would create development in the country in the longer term. This was the beginning of JLOF. 

Still, to this day, it is a given for us at JLOF that all children should have access to education, whether they are girls or boys. Our work would not have been possible without Tamar Opira’s work and it is an honor to continue in her footsteps.

JLOF works to improve opportunities for disadvantaged, vulnerable communities.


Stockholm, Sweden


Box 398, Kitgum, Uganda