Download the guide to Karen culture, faith and history

Karen Culture and Social Support Foundation

The Karen Culture and Social Suppport Foundation (Incorporated) (formerly Karen Buddhist Dhamma Dhutta Foundation) is dedicated to empowering Karen and Burmese people to create life skills for their wellbeing in Australia. Our mission is to:

  • Encourage and assist Karen and Burmese people to retain and value their traditions, culture and spiritual beliefs.
  • Help build genuine respect, friendship, understanding and trust between people of all culture, tradition, ethnicity and religion.
  • Help Karen families integrated into local community, access community services and organizations and to connect with broader community in order to ensure their wellbeing in Australia.
  • Provide education support, career advice and other life skills coaching for young people.
  • Hold traditional festivals and ceremonies including annual Wrist Tying Ceremony and other Karen traditions.
  • Support and assist various cultural and community projects for the healthy growth of humanity, including:
  • By year 2017 Temporary Housing for people in need of short-term accommodation.
  • By year 2020 a Health Clinic with specialties in both western and oriental approaches, for post traumatic stress for refugees as well as their general health issues.
  • By 2023 an Aged Care facility for both Karen, Burmese and other community members.

About half of our members are Karen Buddhists and half Karen Christians. We also have some Australian members. As Buddhists and Christians we share values of loving-kindness, compassion, mutual respect and ethical living. Because we share these values we have no problem working together although we follow different religions.

Most of our members have recently come to Australia as refugees from refugee camps on the Thai-Burma border. Not only do they have a background of interrupted education, but also carry traumatic experiences.

Bringing more refugees to come to live in Bendigo in Australia, and supporting them after they arrive, is a major part of our work. To show that we do not discriminate by religion it is our policy that half of the refugees we sponsor are Buddhist and half are Christian.
We have started a campaign to lobby the Australian government to bring more Karen refugees to Australia.

Many other Karen organisations say they help all Karen refugees, but we are the only organisation that actually sponsors equal numbers of Christian and Buddhist refugees.

We also hold traditional Buddhist festivals including Full Moon Festival, Kathin (Robe-Offering to Monks) ceremony, and Shin Pyu (ordination of children as novice monks and nuns), and participate in other traditional Karen festivals.

In December 2010 we held our first Karen Christmas festival.

Members and volunteers of the foundation provide various support services for young people with their education, career advice and other life skills coaching.

We help Karen and Burmese families integrate into local Bendigo community, access community services and organizations, schools, health providers and other day to day living support.

We plan to build a Community Centre and a Temporary Housing for people in need of short-term accommodation by year 2017 .


The foundation is also involved in various cultural and community projects. The interfaith initiatives being on of them includes interfaith prayer services for peace in Burma and interfaith dialogues. We hold prayer services for peace where we invite Christian and Muslim faith leaders to pray together with us for peace.

The Karen Culture and Social Suppport Foundation (Incorporated) is based in Bendigo, Australia, and is a member of the Buddhist Council of Victoria (BCV).

The Karen Buddhist monastery in Bendigo is currently seeking an Australian Buddhist monk or nun to join our community. For more information click here.

Click here for PDF flyer about the Karen Buddhist Dhamma Dhutta Foundation.

Click here for KBDDF membership application form.

The Karen Culture and Social Suppport Foundation (Incorporated) was known as the Karen Buddhist Dhamma Dhutta Foundation until 2016.

Our supporters

The Karen Culture and Social Suppport Foundation (Incorporated)  is deeply grateful for the financial, practical, and advocacy support we have received from the following organisations:


Atisha Buddhist Centre & Thubten Shedrup Ling Monastery

Bendigo Community Health Service


City of Greater Bendigo


St Andrew's Uniting Church


Westgate Baptist Community

 | Resources | Add Links | Privacy |