“By supporting others, I supported myself,” that is what Ukrainian Yaroslava Kosenko concluded from her time volunteering at the Invictus Games Düsseldorf 2023 presented by Boeing.
Yaroslava came to Germany with her two children as a war refugee, leaving her country behind, fleeing from the ongoing conflict with Russia. She wondered how she could support her country and when she discovered that the Invictus Games were being held in Dusseldorf, Yaroslava immediately applied to volunteer to support Team Ukraine. Yaroslava was successful in her volunteer application and was chosen to be a Team Liaison for the Ukrainian team.
“Volunteering at the Invictus Games was an important step for me in supporting the future of Ukrainian society,” she said.
Yaroslava was inspired and paid tribute to the countless people who are still in Ukraine, supporting the Ukrainian military effort as volunteers, whether it be as a medic or a service dog, she wanted to play her part.
“It is a great honour for me to be part of the volunteer movement [at the Invictus Games], part of this international family. I thank every volunteer who helped and are helping now.”
Yaroslava was a little apprehensive about being a volunteer at the Games as she had no prior experience of working with the wounded, injured, or sick (WIS) service community and was very conscious of not wanting to cause further trauma to the competitors of Team Ukraine, with the majority of the team injured on the frontlines of the war with Russia.
“War changes our society forever,” she remarked and wanted to use her time volunteering at the Invictus Games as a positive example for her young children.
“Children met real, not fictional, superheroes at the Invictus Games. My son has taken up wheelchair basketball, he is no longer afraid people with traumas. He communicates freely with them and I am grateful to Invictus Games for that.”
A lasting memory for Yaroslava was watching a team of three Ukrainian archers competing and one of them scoring a bullseye. A smile from that archer, who competed despite losing a limb from the ongoing fighting was an image that has stuck with Yaroslava since the Games have ended and she has wanted to say thank you to everybody who made the Invictus Games Düsseldorf 2023 such a life changing experience for her.
She wanted to give her time not only to support her fellow Ukrainians but also as a way to say thank you to the country of Germany.
“Thank you for the experience that helped me.”
A Volunteer Experience at the Invictus Games: Yaroslava Kosenko - Team Liaison for Team Ukraine