What is Doxa?

Doxa is a 501c3 non-profit organization that facilitates home building, provides greater access to education and after school activities for youth, and serves the communities in East and West Tijuana, Mexico. See our vision, mission, and values statements for more.

What does “Doxa” mean?

Doxa is a greek word meaning glory. It is commonly heard in churches in the form of “doxology,” which means glory to God.

What is the Easter Project or house building project?

Even though it is known by a few different names, all refer to an opportunity for groups of students and adults to spend 3-7 days in Tijuana building houses for needy families. Learn more here.

Who can build/volunteer with Doxa? Where do groups come from?

Groups come from all over the United States with diverse backgrounds. Groups typically form from youth groups, churches, businesses, schools, families, or other associations (i.e. Boy Scouts, Rotary, college friends, etc.)

Who owns the land where we build houses?

One of the requirements for a family to receive a Doxa home is that they own the land. This is important because we want to make sure the family we build with gets to keep their home. If they don’t have documents proving the land is theirs, someone else could claim the land and the new house upon it.

How much does land cost?

Just as in the US, land value depends on a lot of variables. In general, though, the families we build with are currently paying about $3,000-10,000 USD for their plots. They pay a down payment of about $100-400 USD, and then monthly payments of $75-150 USD until its paid off. When we build for a family they have not necessarily finished these payments. In all cases, there is appropriate mortgage/land documentation that clearly shows who the owner is.

Where are people from?

About 20% of the families that receive houses are originally from Tijuana or elsewhere in Baja California (the Mexican state just below California). The rest have moved to Tijuana hoping for work or to escape the violence in states farther to the south. Sinaloa is the most common origin, being home to a little less than 25% of the families, and many others come from Michoacán, Jalisco, Guerrero and Puebla. Some of these families have come to Doxa immediately after arriving in Tijuana while others have lived in Tijuana for years, staying with family, renting, or living in small shelters on the land you will soon build a home on.

What do people do for work?

In the early years most of the people we built with lived near the Tijuana garbage dump and made their livings hunting through the garbage for materials they could sell. Today people often work in factories, in hospitality, sell in the flea market, or work in basic construction.

Is Tijuana Safe?

Doxa’s top priority is safety for all participants throughout their entire trip. Tijuana is a large city with a population of over 2 million people that covers more than 250 square miles. With any city of that size (even in the United States) there will be some parts considered better than others. Doxa has 30+ years of experience facilitating the safe movement, stay, and volunteer work for over 25,000 people. Additionally, Doxa’s constant contact among local staff and partners, who live in the same neighborhoods that we serve, form the first line of defense against any unsafe situation arising. If, at any time, Doxa feels that an unsafe situation may arise, we will cancel and reschedule any volunteer trip without hesitation. Doxa has every intention of maintaining its excellent track record of safety.

Feel free to reach out to Doxa at anytime with safety and security questions.

What impact does a house have on a family? What are we really giving when we build a house?

Families readily talk of the impact their Doxa house has made. Often their first words are “We are dry when it rains now,” or the simple but powerful, “I have a key.” A house means security, warmth and space. Often families are cramming into a relatives’ house or a small structure unfit for two people, let alone six.

The houses, though, offer more than shelter. For families that were previously renting, the house frees up the scarce resources going towards rent so that they can go towards other needs. As recipients often recite, “It is impossible to pay for both school and rent.”

Houses also allow new job opportunities. People that used to work for others are able to now work for themselves. One woman used to work in a piñata factory; now she makes them in her home and sells them herself. Another helped in the kitchen of someone who sold food on the street. With her new home she has a kitchen of her own and can sell food herself for much better margins. A third woman has sewed garments for years in another woman’s workshop; she has now brought five sewing machines into her home to begin her own workshop.

Other families simply speak of how their new home gave them the encouragement and push they needed. The house you build with Doxa gives people a home but it also provides an economic opportunity. A house allows a family to move the resources previously being spent on shelter and rent to be reallocated and spent on their child’s education.

In general, a house is a spring-board that each family can use to further develop and grow, achieving more than they previously could on their own. These development gains can most tangibly be seen in the economic, educational, and health areas.

What happens after we leave?

When you build a house with Doxa you are usually building for more people than you see that week. With their new homes, families become attractive hosts and relatives often move in. As time goes on the family also grows through marriage and childbirth. Though you may give the house to a family of four or five, the house will likely eventually be a home to twice that number. A quarter of houses grow by five or more, and this increases to more than half for houses built fifteen years ago or earlier.

Sometimes as new family members join, others leave—a son-in-law and grandchild come as a daughter and sister leave—but often the household just grows. As more people live in the home, families need more space. Slowly, and usually once they’ve finished paying off their land, families will begin to expand their homes, adding rooms or pushing out the walls. Other families focus on finishing touches, adding drywall and tile to their homes. We encourage you to stay in direct contact with the family after building the house so you may stay up to date on these kinds of things.

What is Doxa Education?

This describes Doxa’s scholarships and after-school program, which serves youth throughout Tijuana. From elementary school through college, Doxa is committed to helping students succeed. A scholarship provides the material resources required to attend school and the relational support for youth to thrive in the classroom. Learn more about how to serve with Doxa education and the vision behind the program.