Bendigo Community Health Services is proud of the role we have played in establishing Bendigo's first Karen Community Hub and Language School.
The hub was officially launched by City of Greater Bendigo Mayor Margaret O'Rourke and Federal Member for Bendigo Lisa Chesters during a special ceremony on Sunday.
Our Cultural Diversity and Relationships manager Kaye Graves said the new hub was vital in helping the Karen community retain their culture, identity and faith while settling in a new country.
"It is even more important for those new arrivals we welcome to Bendigo who have been displaced and stateless in their own country of origin," Kaye said.
"The Karen Community Hub and Language School improves settlement opportunities, the wellbeing of the Karen community and prevents loss of identity through the promotion of the Karen traditions and preservation of cultural identity . This will happen through opportunities to learn traditional dance, weaving, language and storytelling."
Each Sunday the hub offers Karen language classes from 10am to noon, Karen dance classes from noon to 2pm and Karen weaving classes from noon to 3pm.
Bendigo Community Health Services was part of an advisory group formed to seek funding for the hub with a successful grant from the LUCRF Community Partnership Trust.
"My role was to develop skills and capacity for the Karen in important areas such as project and meeting management. BCHS gave $4000 to help with establishment," Kaye said.
"BCHS will work with the new hub to provide health education and build health and service literacy."
The launch of the Karen Community Hub and Language School was a celebration of two years working towards its establishment in the community.
"It was fantastic to see so many Karen and non-Karen attending the opening ceremony who are keen to support this community and lean about the Karen culture and traditions," Kaye said.
"Traditional dances and food were enjoyed by more than 50 people."
The Karen Community Hub and Language School is at PepperGreen Farm, 40-44 Thunder Street in North Bendigo.
To download an information sheet on the hub featuring activities and times, site address and contact details pdf click here (8.96 MB)
Bendigo Community Health Services has been helping the Karen and other multicultural communities settle in Bendigo for 10 years in July.
Learn more about the refugee and settlement services provided by Bendigo Community Health Services at www.bchs.com.au