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As a young girl growing up in a small, rural village in Zimbabwe, Farirai Manyere CA dreamed of becoming a doctor and helping others.
However, when she discovered that she couldn't stomach the sight of blood, she started to consider different career paths.
She first came across accounting at a high school career day and was thrilled to hear accountants work in all industries including medicine.
"I still had an interest in working in the health sector, and after that careers day, I knew I could help other people from the business side. The one thing I remember was that accountants could work in just about any sector," Farirai says.
Farirai studied a Bachelor of Commerce in Accounting Sciences at the University of South Africa, and worked in accountant and audit manager roles for SNG Grant Thornton in Johannesburg.
Excited about the potential to work internationally, Farirai learned she'd need a globally-recognised qualification to do so.
First steps on her global career journey
Considering her options, Farirai decided the CA Program would provide her with the tools she needed to establish an international career. However, South Africa was the only country close to her in which she could study the CA Program. Determined to pursue the career she always wanted, Farirai moved to South Africa.
While this meant Farirai had to leave home and balance her studies with work, she says the long term benefits outweighed the challenges.
"I remember telling my parents a bachelor's degree was not enough, and I needed to become a Chartered Accountant to get the globally-recognised qualification. So I studied at night and worked full-time during the day, but I never lost sight of my dream. Eventually I passed and became a Chartered Accountant in 2015," Farirai says.
"Having the CA qualification means freedom. It's like someone constantly standing at the door of opportunity, holding it open for me. It doesn't matter where I go, it will always be open because of the global reach of the designation."
"I know that if you want something badly enough, not even the biggest challenges can stop you."
The power of your support network
Farirai grew up in a busy household of 10 children and witnessed the incredible sacrifices her parents and teachers - made to ensure their family was well taken care of and that every child could go to school. Their support has always served as motivation for Farirai.
"It drives me. I saw what they did for us, and I knew I had to concentrate hard to make the most of my education," Farirai says.
Farirai's village had one bus that operated only once a day. Her father always dreamed of owning a car, but with a large family to provide for this wasn't possible. Farirai hoped to finally be in the position one day to make her father's dream come true.
"He was about 70 years old when he called me excitedly to say he'd gotten his driver's license, and I knew this was my opportunity to pay him and my mother back for all they'd done for me. So I put together all my savings and bought him his first car," Farirai says.
"In Zimbabwean culture, giving back and supporting your family is hugely important, so this was a really special moment for me. Without the CA designation, I don't think I could have done it."
Write your own story
After obtaining her CA, Farirai was ready for the next step in her career and started looking for new opportunities. She saw an advertisement for a role at KPMG in Hobart, and a few months later she started her new life in Australia. An opportunity arose for Farirai to relocate from Hobart to Adelaide within KPMG and she seized it.
"I knew I needed a new challenge and I'd always wanted to move abroad and get that international experience. So when the opportunity came up I applied, interviewed and got the job. I packed up my whole life and relocated to Australia," she says.
Farirai has had the opportunity to work all over Australia with KPMG, including short work placements in Darwin, Brisbane, Sydney and Perth. Looking back on her career journey to date, Farirai says her success has come from living life in her own way with her goals front of mind, and believing no obstacle is too big to face.
"I don't see my life as an achievement, I'm living it on my own terms. I certainly don't take things for granted and I believe that we are all given one contract for life, but you set the terms. I hope my story inspires people to set their own terms, because I know that if you want something badly enough, not even the biggest challenges can stop you."
Want to hear more inspiring CA stories?
Hear from Sharyn Delacour about what it means to be a CA student representative:Click here for Sharyn's story
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