The AKF Story

   Aim and Purposes

The aim of the Australian Karen Foundation (AKF) is to improve the lives of Karen refugee people and communities on the Thai Burma border and in Australia  through education and training.

The purposes of Foundation are to work alongside Karen people in Australia and the Thai Burma border to: 

….develop grass-roots  education and training projects to help equip individuals and these communities for their future   

... assist Internally Displaced People of the Karen State (East Burma) with educational opportunities    

....inform and educate Australians about the plight and struggle of the Karen people.

Man at Refugee Camp

In refugee camp collecting leaves


In 2005 AKF began after two study-tour groups returned from visiting refugee communities on the Thai-Burma border whose situation was little known in Australia. The groups were so moved by what they saw on the border that they returned to Australia determined to do something to assist the Karen people. AKF  was formed, and later  a constitution was written, and an organisation membership and committee were established.

Frequent trips to the border  began in order to develop collaborative projects with the refugees that could be inaugurated with our support. Thus began an exciting journey sharing hope and making some dreams, such as a senior school in the largest of the camps,  a reality. At the same time AKF is acutely aware that many Karen people remain disadvantaged in the camps and considerably more barely survive as internally displaced persons within Burma. 

With the arrival of Karen refugees in Australia in recent years AKF has welcomed Karen people into its committee and membership.     

   Early  Projects

  • AKF helped refugees to relocate from refugee camps  to Australia - twenty families were provided with air-fare assistance.

AirFare Scheme

  • ·         A micro-credit project of Men’s Weaving Training was established in one of the border camps

Weaver in action
  • ·         An 18 month ‘Telling the Karen Story’ Program  was held in Melbourne: 6 young Karen were trained to present their refugee stories in schools and churches.

Telling Karen Story

  • ·         Material aid work was undertaken for newly arrived families

Food Relief

Now the  direction of the organisation focuses on education and training…. See Aims and Purposes

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