A fashionable cause for Global Poverty Project

Kalpani Senasinghe is aiming to raise awareness and end poverty in Australia.
Kalpani Senasinghe is aiming to raise awareness and end poverty in Australia.

WALKING the catwalk at New York Fashion Week is a dream held by many, but for one Willetton woman, it was also a chance to bring a meaningful cause to light.

Kalpani Senasinghe returned from New York in November after a six-month practicum at Global Citizen’s Global Poverty Project as part of her public health masters at UWA.

In New York, she helped organise the Global Citizen Festival, rubbing shoulders with Beyonce, Coldplay, Ed Sheeran and Pearl Jam to raise awareness of global poverty and the UN’s new Sustainable Development Goals that aim to overcome poverty by 2030.

When the 155cm nurse applied to take to the world famous catwalk, it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to help raise awareness for the cause.

“It was so fun, I didn’t think being so short I would be selected,” Ms Senasinghe said.

She said now was the time for Australia to lead innovative change to end poverty.

“I am so excited by what I learnt in New York, I don’t want to let go of it,” she said.

“I want to create a movement to end poverty; I don’t think (one) has existed in Australia before on a large scale.”

Ms Senasinghe said Australia needed to step up to support its Indonesian and South-East Asian neighbours.

“Australia is very conservative, they wait for the UK and US to do things first, then think about it, then maybe implement change,” she said. “We need to engage politicians; with the way the world is going at the moment it can happen.”

She said she would focus her campaign in Australia.

“I could go back (to the US) but I want to do something in Australia and shout from the rooftops about ending poverty here,” she said.