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JDF programme a lifesaver – Brailsford

Published:Tuesday | March 19, 2019 | 12:00 AMNadine Wilson-Harris/Staff Reporter
Private Shamone Brailsford
Private Nicholas Rowe
Members of the Jamaica Defence Force's (JDF) National Service Corps in attendance at the JDF’s end of programme ceremony for 1,702 recruits at Up Park Camp on November 2, 2018.

Shamone Brailsford had no plans to join the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) while growing up, but after spending one year in the Jamaica National Service Corps (JNSC), the 21-year-old St Catherine resident is now looking forward to joining the Air Wing.

“When I went to Up Park Camp, I thought I could do this for a year and then move on to do something else, [but] I am still here,” she said.

The JNSC is now the standard mode for enlisting persons wanting to join the JDF and is helping to transform youths to become agents of change in their communities.

More than 1,500 young people have benefited from the programme so far and, like Brailsford, have an interest in serving.

“The programme, I would say, is a lifesaver. Because whilst training, I would have interacted with several persons – persons who I have trained with and persons who passed out in the intake before me. What I got to understand was that more than 50 per cent of us didn’t have jobs before,” she said.

Sense of independence

“Some of us depended on our families, and now it is the other way around.

“We can say, “Hey, mommy, here is $50 towards the light bill’. It feels good. It gives you that feeling of fulfilment, you have done your family proud, and JDF has provided that, and I am grateful,” said a beaming Brailsford, who is now being hailed by many persons in Lluidas Vale, where she grew up.

The Dinthill Technical High School past student has nine Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) subjects and was working as a merchandiser for a distribution company prior to joining the JNSC. She found that she was merely working to finance her travels to work, but now she is getting paid to learn.

“When you interact with persons there, you want to be a part of something great.

“The respect you see soldiers get when they go on the road is phenomenal, and as a female, when I go out there, the respect, you just feel like you are on top of the world, so why would I want to give that up?” she asked.

Unlike Brailsford, former Holy Trinity High School student Nicholas Rowe had always wanted to join the military. After several attempts, he was finally recruited in 2017.

“I am a person that believes in my dream,” he said.

“I can remember the first day, I went to the recruiting office because I was waiting so long. I stepped boldly into the recruiting office and I said “Ma’am, I would like to be a part of this organisation,” he told editors and reporters last Friday during a Gleaner Editors’ Forum at the newspaper’s North Street office. He said that his mother is both happy and worried about him joining the military, but he sees the opportunity as a fulfilment of a lifetime dream.

“It has taught me the core values that I nurture today when it comes to commitment , discipline, loyalty, [and] integrity,” he said.