Passion for connection helps CQUni alumnus make a difference

Published:21 September 2020

CQUniversity Brisbane alumnus Rajkumar Gohain works for not-for-profit Micah Projects.

He came to Australia with a head for numbers, but it was his heart for community that landed CQUniversity alumnus Rajkumar Mritunjoy Gohain his dream job.

Moving to Brisbane from his hometown of Guwahati in India’s Northeast to take on his Master of Accounting with CQU, Mr Gohain was determined to connect with his new city – and he started with cricket.

“I played first class cricket in India for more than eight years, so when I came to Australia of course I wanted to keep playing – but it was more about the people than the competition!” Mr Gohain said.

“I was playing at all different levels and sports definitely helped me connect with people – we all speak the language of sports!”

At the busy CQUniversity Brisbane campus across 2008 and 2009, Mr Gohain was studying hard with his eye on a corporate accounting career – but his passion for community intervened.

“I was already working with an accounting firm, as a graduate accountant but then I reached out to my friends and network which I have built through these years of connection informed me about a graduate role with a not-for-profit organisation I should apply for,”

“At that time, I wasn’t even sure about what a not-for-profit organisation is all about. I had been so focused on corporate world and public sector.”

The not-for-profit was Brisbane’s Micah Projects, a multi-disciplinary community organisation that provides a range of housing, homelessness, justice and health services through outreach, centre based teams and workers embedded in other organisations.

Micah Projects also runs social enterprise cafes where they offer people who are facing barriers to work, pathways to employment so they can participate economically in the community of their choice with the aim to breakdown social exclusion  for some of the most marginalised members of the community.

“Micah Projects was doing such inspiring work, and it really connected with my experience growing up, in a family where making money was a struggle, and everyone did a lot with a little,” Mr Gohain said.

He took the role in 2011 and nearly nine years later and having completed his Certified Practicing Accountant (CPA) qualifications, Mr. Gohain is now the Finance and Operations Manager for the busy social justice organisation.

“I have always loved telling a story with numbers, and there are so many great stories to tell in Micah Projects,” he explained.

“People think of an accountant being stuck behind a desk and just counting beans, but actually I work closely with executive and the service delivery team to really understand how our finance is working on the ground, and to keep a connection with the clients, and the impact we’re making for them, too.”

Mr Gohain’s determination to keep his role diverse and community-oriented also started at CQUniversity, where he played cricket with a campus team, and even travelled to regional Queensland to take on students from across Australia.

Mr Gohain is now a member of CQUniversity Brisbane’s Regional Engagement Committee, and a member of Queensland Not for Profit Committee of CPA Australia.

“The experience students have at university is so important, so I’m involved in organising a lot of events and forums so students, and especially people who have come to Australia with dreams, can connect with the right people,” he said.