Chinu was born in India. Her grandfather, an electrical engineer, was a Member of Parliament during and after the British rule in India. Through stories about her grandfather's role in India's freedom struggle and his brother’s social work and philanthropy, she became passionate about community and social issues, about poverty, and about individual and collective freedom.
Chinu's father was a government official whose job meant moving from community to community and from school to school (eight in all), constantly making new friends, and learning new languages.
Chinu completed a Bachelor's degree in Calcutta and Master's degrees in New Delhi. In 1979 she moved to Canada to pursue a PhD in Community and Regional Planning at UBC.
In 1989 Chinu moved to New Westminster and raised her family of 3. She volunteered as a Parent Advisory Council (PAC) member, as PAC chair, as Lord Kelvin District-PAC representative, and as manager of soccer, lacrosse and hockey teams. She lobbied for the rebuilding of Moody Park Kiwanis pool, a new high school and a welcome centre for immigrants.
As her children grew she went to work for the New Westminster school district as a Community School Coordinator at Lord Kelvin Community School (2000-2006) where she initiated the breakfast program and other opportunities for children both during and after school, so that no child is left behind due to any financial, language, cultural or social barriers.
She became Manager of Multicultural Services from 2006-2009, which provided a lens into the lives and needs of immigrant and refugee families who are socially isolated due to poverty, cultural and language barriers.
In 2009 she went to work at United Way as the Planner of Strategic Priorities (2009-2015), focussing on school aged children, while continuing to volunteer with diversity-centred committees. Chinu retired from United Way in 2015.