Who are we?
It all started when…
Kathy Faller went on a home build and fell in love with the concept of building homes for families in Tijuana. She worked with Gerson and Amada Ayala to develop the basis for Casas de Luz. Kathy introduced the idea to the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of San Dieguito (UUFSD) and received immense support. We officially became a social justice action program of the UUFSD in 2005. Since then we have built over 100 homes for more than 100 families around Tijuana. Not only do we build homes, but we bring down weekly in-kind donations, build and support community centers in 3 different communities, and run a cross cultural youth group.
The homes we build are funded through the generous donations of individual donors or groups who have come together to raise the funds. These groups are created either by a few families joining together or by different organizations or companies. We are now working with over 20 sponsors per year and would not be able to build without them.
Our follow up visits to families for whom we have built have shown an increase in self-confidence as well as an increase in the standard of living. Without having to pay rent or live in crowded, uncomfortable conditions families are able to buy the basic necessities. Children are able to stay in school longer because they have a stable roof to come home to. Families are able to create a new life with the foundation of a home.
We support two main community centers, Generación Infantil de Jesús in Colonia Cumbres and Faro de Luz in Colonia Ranchito. We support a daily breakfast club at Generación Infantil de Jesús as well as an annual Christmas party. Faro de Luz is a new community center that we will becoming more involved with, including leading youth groups and teaching classes. These community centers provide the community with an opportunity to work together and improve each other’s lives. We work hard to create sustainability in each center and to build a sense of community.
Finally, Casas de Luz brings down weekly donations to families from past builds or to the community centers for the community leader to decide who has the most need. This initiative decreases our costs, recycles furniture and other items that would otherwise be filling the landfill, and of course provide a better quality of life for our families.