Leighton Buzzard's Tyler Rodriguez Foundation on mission to help children in El Salvador and Sri Lanka
A kind-hearted Leighton Buzzard couple have set up a charitable foundation to supply gift boxes to underprivileged children in El Salvador and Sri Lanka.
Simon Tyler, 31, and his fiancée Veryan Fountain, 29, are proud to have launched The Tyler Rodriguez Foundation, which will send a special parcel to youngsters in need once a month.
The couple have contacts in both countries who will distribute the toys, clothes and books to local families, and hope that the gifts will bring smiles during troubling times.
Simon told the LBO: "In El Salvador they have a lot of gang problems; for example, the mother of one girl that we are helping was killed by a gang. Their start in the school system isn't always the best, because some children go to lessons in the day time and then work a job in the evenings to support their families.
"Meanwhile, the area that we are supporting in Sri Lanka has set up a language school, and we want to help the families financially, as they can't always afford certain things."
Simon has a personal reason for choosing El Salvador, as it is the place where he was born.
When he was just a baby, Simon was brought over by his parents David and Jacqueline Tyler, who flew to a neighbouring country to collect him, because El Salvador itself was in a civil war.
Simon, who is co-founder and CEO, told the LBO: "I was born there in 1990, but my mum was on her own and couldn't cope with having a child. She was struggling and desperate.
"I moved over here within a month."
Simon has an older sister, Sacha, who was also born in El Salvador two years earlier, whom he describes as an "excellent teacher and mother".
Simon's family are very proud and supportive of his new foundation.
Meanwhile, Veryan is juggling her role as co-founder and head of social media with her duties as a nurse; indeed, she worked throughout the entire pandemic in London.
Simon added: "The two colleagues we're working with are Joaquin Batres in El Salvador and Sampath Senawatte in Sri Lanka [both of whom are a 'head of operation' within the organisation].
"Joaquin's main job is to work as a program director for Teaching You - a volunteer program for teachers to stay in El Salvador to teach English, while Sampath helps run Kekirawa Learning Centre and is country lead for Sri Lanka at the charity Good Deeds Day."
The team hope that the Leighton-Linslade community can donate books, toys and clothes, or help financially via the JustGiving page. This will go towards shipping costs.
Simon and Veryan added: "We want to give back, but it's not about us, it's about bringing hope and trying to even up society!
"If you have a reliable contact (in a country that isn't England) who you believe can receive regular parcels and distribute them to children and families, then please get in touch and we can discuss expanding."
The Tyler Rodriguez Foundation is not-for-profit.