From opening a bank account to enrolling a child in school or applying for a job, even the tasks that one might consider relatively simple – if time-consuming and finicky – can be made difficult for those who aren’t proficient in English.
Having arrived in Australia from Vietnam as a three year old in 1978, Laura Dang knows this all too well.
“When my family and I first arrived, my grandmother was the only one in our family who could hold a pen. When you have this family that can’t read or write their first language, and then ask them to learn English, it’s not that easy,” Dang explained.
“As a child going through the school system I ended up being the one to fill out forms, uploading details and reading letters for my family. So, my own personal experience certainly impacted the way I looked at the problem that everyone faces.”
Going on to work in the tech space, rolling out digital innovations for the likes of QBE, Westpac, and the NSW Department of Justice, Dang said she noticed that while billions of dollars were being invested in digital, exclusion of people to services continued to increase.
“I knew there was something didn’t add up,” she said.
“I noticed that no one was addressing how to enable organisations to better help consumers collate documents and complete the application process.