Sis­ter­hood is alive in South Perth

Southern Gazette (Victoria Park) - - Front Page - Bron­wyn Dono­van

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

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

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

Mrs Yaafe-Payne de­cided to reach out to 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 – 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,” she 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.

Pic­ture: Bron­wyn Dono­van

New Friends ad­min­is­tra­tor Amee Maik­lem and fa­cil­i­ta­tor Rachelli Yaafe-Payne.

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