A lesser-known aspect to the house building experience is staying at a partner orphanage in Tijuana. Groups pour in their excitement, presence, and resources to support these local organizations (in exchange for a home-base while in Tijuana). This ensures that each orphanage can be financially and relationally supported year-around through Doxa’s long-term presence.
Maria Figueroa, Founder of Casa Hogar Unidos por Siempre Orphanage
The following words by Maria have been translated from Spanish to English.
In the moment that Doxa started to partner with us, everything changed for the better. We have received a lot of help on projects, resources, and relationships that were once very difficult to obtain. For example, the children eat better than they used to and are much better supported in their education. Their performance and grades in school have only increased (thankfully!). We have also been able to increase our staff and provide opportunities for growth, where there used to be none. This has contributed to increased stability and overall health of our home. We have also been able to do more for the community through the house building program. As families contribute their hours of volunteer service, this has helped the operations of Unidos por Siempre and aided in growing an organic network of people. This community is slowly changing from the inside out.
Finally, it is so gratifying to be able to help families with a new house that really fills them with happiness. It provides for a more dignified life and home for their children. Through Doxa we have been able to achieve things that we never thought possible and met people that we would normally never have, from our local community and faraway places in the United States. Thank you for everyone who has helped support Unidos por Siempre and the families and children in our part of Tijuana!
Tony Ralphs, Founder of Casa Hogar de los Niños Orphanage
It’s impossible to talk about Doxa and not hear about Hogar de los Niños, as their histories are intimately woven together. In the early 1990s, it was Tony who first offered space for volunteer groups to stay at his orphanage in the hills surrounding Tijuana. Groups came and started a relationship that still lasts to this day. Even though the neighborhood has benefitted from decades of development, Hogar de los Niños still cares for unwanted children and has grown alongside the community.
What started as Tony caring for children out of a repurposed bus in the 1970s is now a 6-story building with rooms for kids to congregate and play. Dorm rooms, kitchen, dining hall, study spaces, computer lab, and even a music room. Hogar de los Niños has flourished in its call to the children of Tijuana. Tony and his wife, Pilar, continue to be very involved with the strategic direction of Hogar de los Niños. Pilar’s sister, Carmen, is the on-site director and handles the day-to-day operations. Many of the staff members also grew up there. It’s rare to find someone in the immediate neighborhood who doesn’t have a family tie or personal story about Hogar de los Niños.