South Perth: loneliness prompts migrant to create women’s only social group

New Friends administrator Amee Maiklem and facilitator Rachelli Yaafe-Payne. Photo: Bronwyn Donovan
New Friends administrator Amee Maiklem and facilitator Rachelli Yaafe-Payne. Photo: Bronwyn Donovan

RACHELLI Yaafe-Payne’s experiences of loneliness, after settling in a new country with no friends, lead her to create what is now a highly successful women’s only social group.

Mrs Yaafe-Payne moved from England to Perth in September, 2015 and shortly after married her husband.

Having left behind her friends she became increasing lonely and in July 2016 had severe depression.

Mrs Yaafe-Payne decided to reach out on several Facebook groups and soon realised there were many other lonely women in Perth.

“A few people contacted me and we started a group chat but after about 20 people joined and we could no longer keep up with the feed, I decided to create my own group, New friends, which now has over 9000 members,” she said.

From the success on Facebook, Mrs Yaafe-Payne last year launched a nine-week course, called Friend HER, at the South Perth Learning Centre.

The course incorporates learning new skills each week, from personal development to woodwork, embroidery and cooking, with relaxed social interactions.

“With the course, you don’t have to be scared about coming on your own, which is what I was always scared about, because it is specifically designed for women looking to make new friends,” Mrs Yaafe-Payne said.

“It also gives you the option to try new things, which again was something I was never sure about when people suggested I join a course to try and make friends.”

Mrs Yaafe-Payne said in the first course five of the 10 girls had kept in contact and reported they met up regularly which for her was fantastic feedback.

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