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My name is Rochelle and I'm at 29 year old Muslim living in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne. I have always lived in Melbourne and my family currently live on the Mornington peninsula.

I have a beautiful niece and nephew who I absolutely adore!
I work in the community aged care field, managing a group of case managers.. I have a lot of fun at work.
My mum is Maori and moved to Australia in her 20s.
I really enjoy spending time with friends and have a beautiful group of brothers and sisters to connect with and navigate this beautiful religion with.

Life before Islam
I always felt like something was missing.. kind of like an existential crisis.. since I was a kid! Haha!
I filled the hole in my heart with drinking, toxic people and to be honest, I wasn't a super amazing person.

My first encounter with a Muslim
I grew up in a very white neighbourhood on the peninsula. I think there were maybe 3 people of colour at my high school and I had no idea what Islam was about. I really can't remember my first encounter with a Muslim but the Muslim community I am connected with now is completely beautiful!

My Conversion
I took shahada during lockdown 2020. I had been looking into Islam for around 2 years and needed to be 100% before I reverted. I took it over zoom with an Aunty from Egypt! It felt like a lonely time and I had to try really hard to seek out Muslim people to connect with. I built a strong community of people online to guide me and now even stronger community of people, they keep my deen strong.

What do I love about Islam?
I am absolutely in love with Islam. There is no other religion that makes more sense to me. I've never felt more welcome in a group of people. I love that it's purely based around being a good person. Everything is prescribed precisely and it's comforting. Serving Allah (SWT) is my life now.

How has Islam improved me as person?
I didnt like who I was before I converted if I'm honest. I wasn't honest in my intention to people and held a lot of hurt. Being a nurse I always felt I was compassionate, but being a Muslim has truly opened my eyes to how I needed to improve. May Allah make it easy for all of us.

My family likes my changes.
My mum is very funny. She simply asked "what is that" (hijab)... and that's all she's asked. My family are very tolerant and accepting of anything.

As a Maori Polynesian Muslim what challenges I have faced?
I wouldn't say I have faced any challenges based on my ethnicity. I would say that we did not grow up with a lot of money and I was disadvantaged during my youth. Pushing hard through that to become educated and more culturally aware was important. May Allah make all of our struggles easier and bless the people who face those challenges now

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