Tich and Joan Smith

Founders of the Lungisani Indlela Village for vulnerable children, Tich and Joan Smith are the recipients of the 2013 Inyathelo Award for Philanthropy in Community Development.

Tich and Joan started the Lungisani Indlela Village in 2008 after more than ten years of working with vulnerable families in Amaoti, one of the largest informal settlements in KwaZulu-Natal. They recognised the critical need to care for and support the rising number of orphaned and traumatised children in the area. They believed these children needed holistic, residential care in a family environment. Tich and Joan’s vision was to rescue children, restore their lives, raise leaders and release stars.

The couple bought an 83 acre farm at Cottonlands, Verulam in KwaZulu-Natal in 2009. On the farm they built Lungisani Indlela Village or LIV village which now has many residential homes, each with a foster mother and six orphans. There is also a school in the village which caters for children from crèche to matric as well as an Early Childhood Development facility, a medical clinic, a church and a business development centre. The village employs 97 full time staff.


Tich and Joan’s commitment has made a huge impact on local communities in the area and provided a model for assisting orphans and vulnerable children, which could be replicated across South Africa. They firmly believe that you can change young lives and leave a legacy of hope for future generations.