by Simone Richardson

Charity volunteer Lila Ruzain won the award of Charity Queen in Mrs Malaysia World 2018. Visiting Trinity's Waterloo shop, she told Simone Richardson - a volunteer there - how it happened.

"People are helped through tough times in life in many different ways through charity. For me, people embracing voluntary work is an all-around inspiration. Trinity has proven to me personally that life is short and volunteering for Trinity lifts my spirits.

As a student many years ago at the London College of Fashion, I gained a distinction in my HND in fashion and beauty journalism, a qualification which involved photo shoots. Volunteering at a Trinity shop is similar in involving window dressing which I love doing. Our windows draw people in to buy great value designer and street style clothes for women and men. So much so that, one time, a lady was passing whilst I was just putting up my choice of outfit on a mannequin and she rushed in straight away. She tried it on, bought it and even allowed me to take a photograph of her wearing it with a smile on her face before she left!

Customers from all sorts of life, all walks of life and all over the world come into Trinity’s Waterloo shop, buying everything from clothes, to books, to jewellery, to boots. Anyone and everyone can walk through the door, and one time, Lila Buzain, who had won the Charity Queen award at Miss World Malaysia 2018, came in.

After beginning her wonderful journey volunteering with the Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study in Malaysia, Lila had undertaken a volunteer experience that took her to 13 different countries – lucky for some! Starting in the capital city of Malaysia where Lila lived, she volunteered with the homeless. Across the world, she helped flood victims in Serbia and children in Nepal and taught Tibetan refugees.

Lila’s face lit up as she told me about the joyful experience she had of being a volunteer:

“It was a very meaningful three month expedition and I have so much to say that it is not believable. My special moment is when I was in Nepal teaching all the children in the Tibetan refugee camp – they are so special.”

Lila told me she would love to live in London and would be more than happy to volunteer for Trinity one day. “I look at all the Trinity shops and I wish to be part of Trinity to work and assist them in any way,” she said. 

I personally have been volunteering in one of Trinity’s shops for over a year. It started after I just walked into the one in Waterloo and offered to help my friend (the fab!) Fiona, who was a shop manager there at the time, and who now manages the shop in Turnham Green. She is excellent at her job and we just clicked. Fiona made me feel totally valued as a volunteer. I did window dressing, steaming (which is very calming!), serving customers and making her a cuppa!

Hope is my favourite word. As a freelance journalist I hope that writing about voluntary work encourages volunteers worldwide."

Find out more about volunteering in Trinity shops