Meet The Team
Hey Lina, welcome to the team! Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
I didn't do very well in my studies, I didn't do that well after I graduated with a near fail. I had no direction in anything I was doing because I was doing what was expected of me. So I stepped out of the general comfort zone and finally managed to sort a career out in the booming tech industry for myself at the age of 27. Once I got things moving on a personal level, I realised how easy it was to generate my own success. I realised how much control I personally had over myself and the things around me.
I found that the less I took myself seriously, the more I took my surroundings seriously.
I got mentally stronger, and a little wiser to the point where I thought, if I can do it, anyone can.
Wow! That's incredible, thanks for sharing. What are your current hobbies and interests?
As I'm getting older I am also trying to become fitter, doing sports like basketball and parkour.
Can you tell us more about your charity background?
So once upon a time, a friend of mine heard about how charities turn up to areas of London on a daily basis to feed the homeless. So a few of us turned up with no expectations at all.
It was scary, we were surrounded by homeless people who were rushing around us wondering what we had to offer. We were very unprepared, it was our fault.
So I stepped up, got militant, and managed to get everyone to comply with some order. We took time to prepare what we had to offer and everything from then on was a success.
There was a mutual respect between us that I've held onto ever since.
After this one event, I realised how little it takes to help. Figuring out how to make it cost/time effective and as regular as possible. And most importantly, as stress free as possible because that generally causes the loss of momentum.
4 years later, I still go out with friends once or twice a month and hand out hot food, drinks and clothing.
4 years, that's a long time! What have you learned since then?
Something I have learned over the years is, if I can do it.... It doesn't mean anyone can.
People have their own families and lives to focus on, and rightly so of course. Hence why I feel like I can put myself forward as their 'go to person' for giving.
I am in a position where I try to help others help those who need help.
And the most important drive in this, I have made friends with some of the homeless community. I've learned so much from them. They are so kind and so humble and they tell me the most fascinating stories.
I have come to realise that this isn't something I am doing for personal growth and reward, this is something where I am encouraging other peoples personal growth.
This has driven me to push further and use whatever skill I have to see how I can help find a solution to the homeless problem in London.
If you'd like to know more about our work with the homeless community or if you'd like to get involved - please contact Lina to find out more.
Well hello there, can you tell us a little about yourself and why you set The Smile Brigade up?
When it comes to recovery and personal wellbeing, especially for those who have been isolated or marginalised from society - be it due to homelessness, age or ill health, I think that people are often quick to overlook not only the therapeutic effect but also the physical and mental health benefits of taking part in regular and meaningful activity.
Having spent some time in hospital recovering from clinical depression, it was through attending individual and group sessions - such as art and creative writing groups, that I was able to rediscover a sense of self worth and purpose.
Finally, it was through finding a love and a passion for fitness that I was truly able to find myself whilst gaining confidence and learning new skills.
I feel very strongly that everyone - regardless of age or circumstances should have the opportunity to access free services and be able to partake in regular and meaningful activity which will ultimately give vulnerable people the skills and the confidence they need to integrate back into their communities and feel like valued and loved members of society.