top of page

One Heart for Kids is a non-profit organisation registered in South Africa, and in the USA (as a 501(c)3 company). In partnership with National and Provincial government agencies, corporates and other non-profits we help develop and distribute nationally approved curriculum for under-resourced primary and high schools in South Africa, as well as provide counselling, play therapy and educational toys for at-risk children, schools, orphanages and needy children’s centres. To date, we have reached 20,217 children with nationally approved curriculum, educational toys and play therapy in South Africa.



We thank you for your support! 

Meet The Team
Lisa Thompson-Smeddle (1 of 1) (3)_edite

Lisa Thompson Smeddle

Founder of One Heart

Lisa is originally from the USA, but from  the age of four she knew wanted to work in the development sector in Africa. She worked in the US diplomatic corp and moved to South Africa in 1988. She taught at the Sustainability Institute in Stellenbosch and has managed large programmes for USAID, FHI360, PEPFAR, UNDP and other international and local donors. In 2011 she founded the Sustainable Development Network, to empower NGOs, government, and political leaders through education, training, research and curriculum development. In 2016 she founded One Heart, in order to help provide inclusive, quality education and curriculum for children in South Africa. She wants to work herself out of a job through action - and she believes this vision is possible.


Carol Beerwinkel

Teacher Support Coordinator 


Carol's contribution to Education began in 1972. She spent many successful years teaching in places like Johannesburg, Potchefstroom, Prieska and Cape Town. In 1996 the political bug bit. While in the political field she has held many senior positions as chairperson or executive member of committees like Housing, Development Planning, Tourism and currently is the Shadow Minister for Education in the Western Cape Parliament. Her life goal is to leave a legacy of visible developmental growth examples and upliftment of people’s  lives and surroundings. 


Edna Sym

One Heart Administrator

& Play Therapist

Edna assists with school selection, coordinates the distribution of  books and play therapy toys to schools and partners. She is also one of One Heart's play therapists and counsellors. she has previously worked in a variety of different child-care facilities, schools and communities, helping traumatized, abused and neglected children to heal through counselling and play therapy and to improve literacy.


Johann Sym

Counsellor & Play Therapist 

Johann has worked in a variety of different child-care facilities, schools and communities, helping traumatized, abused and neglected children to heal through counselling and play therapy to improve literacy. He has also assisted with all One Heart fundraising events.


Blantinah Qaoka

Counsellor & Play Therapist

Blantinah is completing her Masters in Psychology and acts as a counsellor and play therapist. She works with neglected, abused and traumatised children. Having lost her father at a young age, and having received help as a child from some of One Heart's current partners, she is happy that she can work with the same organisations that helped her, and that she can help children like herself overcome difficult circumstances in order to  thrive.


Matthew Kruger

Marketing Manager

Matt has been a One Heart ambassador since its inception and assists with all events, marketing campaigns and branding. He helps to spread our vision and message through social media and marketing. 

365 ubuntu Andrew Profile Pic.jpg

Andrew Patterson

USA Board Member

Andrew is originally from South Africa and now resides in New York City with his wife Jessie. After climbing Table Mountain every day in 2018 in order to raise funds for One Heart, the physical challenge ended but his passion for promoting quality education hasn't! 


Jessie Patterson 

USA Board Advisor

With experience helping kids' education in the USA, Ghana, Guatemala, and Laos., Jessie  is an advocate for children's literacy globally. She believes in a world where we unlock all youth's potential through the power of learning to read. 

bottom of page