Rinku Razdan, founder of Connections Australia, proves that technology can drive social good
Seventeen years ago Rinku Razdan was a new migrant in Australia, who restarted her life with a 3 year-old son, $20 to her name and no contacts in Australia. Today, she is a successful management consultant specialising in data analytics, and the proud founder and CEO of Connections – a social enterprise assisting newly-arrived migrants.
Rinku’s level of success is certainly one which many migrants aspire to achieve when they decide to call Australia home. But Rinku understands the many challenges that come with making such a huge life change.
“If someone would have helped me with settlement, held my hand and then shown me all the things I’d require to settle into Australia early on, I can assure you that within 4 or 5 years I would be doing what I’m doing now, rather than taking 17 years to get here,” Rinku said.
It was Rinku’s passion for helping others, as well as her love for technology that fuelled her decision to establish Connections in 2017.
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Available as a multilingual mobile app, Connections aims to provide a range of assistance throughout the settlement process. Whether the user is searching for a job, trying to meet new people or would like to learn how superannuation works in Australia, Connections uses data to provide the support required.
“The idea is to basically have a one-stop shop where you can find everything you need to settle into a city or a country at a fingertip, in any language you want it.”
Much of Rinku’s motivation to start Connections was her desire to give back to the community that gave her so much support when she was figuring out her life in Australia, being a migrant herself from Dehradun, India.
“I always tell people, I feel like Mowgli from The Jungle Book. I was raised by a community of people and it didn’t matter what their background was. When I needed help, they all came to help me.”
“My local grocer was Chinese, and right in the early stages he knew I didn’t have food to feed my son, so at the end of the night, whatever was left over, he would just give it to me. My neighbours were Aussies and it didn’t matter how many times I asked them to mind my child – they did,” Rinku shared.
This generosity and community spirit also characterises the team of volunteers who work alongside Rinku on Connections. Many come from migrant backgrounds, so they understand firsthand the experience of settling into a completely new environment.
For Rinku, working with this volunteer team is the most rewarding aspect of her work with Connections. Her team’s dedication means that many have given up their nights and weekends to put Rinku’s vision into practice.
“The people that I work with are phenomenal. They give up their own time, they give up their own skills, they put in long hours. A lot of effort to work alongside me.”
Rinku’s collaboration with her team has led to the development of several new features on the Connections app, many of which will be rolled out over the next 2-3 years.
To learn more about Connections or to download the app, click HERE.