Three female British Army officer cadets have passed through Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, becoming the first women from their countries to do so.
A total of 19 cadets graduated on 20 March, during a passing out parade with COVID social distancing measures in place, but the event held particular significance for three members.
Chuki Wangmo from Bhutan, Midya Masti from the Peshmerga Force of Kurdistan in northern Iraq and Firushana Thaufeeq from the Maldives were inspected by Major General Celia Harvey as they marched on the parade square in front of Sandhurst’s Old College.
Maj Gen Harvey was herself the first female Army reservist to be promoted to the rank of Major General.
The female cadets were part of Commissioning Course Short (CCS) No. 211.
The CCS is a compacted training schedule to accommodate the requirements of Army reservists and professionally qualified officers, such as dentists and lawyers.
It can be completed across several months, though the celebrating class passed through after one eight-week stretch.
Officer Cadet Thaufeeq, 28, also won the coveted 'International Prize', awarded to the best performing international course participant in the eyes of the Sandhurst staff.
Speaking of her experience at the military academy, she said: "I never realised quite how cold it would be here.
"When I left the Maldives it was 28 degrees and when I arrived here it was only two degrees.
"The training was challenging because of the weather and the hills – in the Maldives we have no hills so that was difficult.
"My Mum and Dad are so proud of me and they tell me the whole of my country is proud of me too.
"I'll remember Sandhurst for the friendship and how we all helped each other in our teams."
Officer Cadet Midya Masti, 30, serves as a doctor in a military hospital back in Kurdistan and was also shocked by the comparatively low UK temperatures.
"I would never have thought I could finish a course such as this, perhaps had they told me I would not have come, but then I wouldn’t be the person I am today; I am very proud, to be honest."
For Officer Cadet Wangmo, 39, said: "I was so lucky to be nominated by my government to represent my country and come to Sandhurst.
"I will be going into the Army full-time when I return to Bhutan.
"I think it’s changed me; I look at things in a different way and I’ve learnt a lot of things," she added.
Cover image: British Army.