Gleaner Published: Thursday, 21 February 2019
Carved out of the gritty concrete jungle of Kingston, Ionie Clarke’s big, broad smile is as disarming as her rock-solid confidence.
The student leader, a trainee in the Jamaica National Service Corps, said that she has always been driven to make a difference and to inspire young women.
“Being the only female in my class, I felt no different. When all the other females were choosing cooking and clothing (and textiles), I am the one who said, ‘Not a lot of females are doing this. I am going to do electrical,” the 24-year-old told The Gleaner last Saturday at Denham Town Primary, where she took part in a school-beautification project.
Having gained some experience as an electrician, Clarke said she could not resist what she believed was her destiny for high-level leadership. The sight of soldiers at the ready gave her the push to finally sign up for the Jamaica National Service Corps, a quasi-military stream of the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) that targets young people for career development.
“I love to lead,” she declared, adding, “I think that I can encourage people because being a female, a lot of other females look at me and say, ‘She’s a solider’, so when females see me, [that] also gives them motivation.”
“Choosing electrical, I knew it wouldn’t have been so hard, because electrical work isn’t so easy, mixing mortar and carrying buckets upstairs, and so I knew within myself that I could manage the JDF,” Clarke further added.