The Short Story of the Beautiful Finnish Volunteer Who Almost Didn’t Arrive

Roosa Hyrske is one of the most reserved people I have ever met, yet she giggles more than anyone I know. That’s how I will begin my description of Good Work Foundations’s (GWF) most recent volunteer from Finland, who spent most of her six weeks at Hazyview Digital Learning Campus (HDLC) working with GWF’s Hazyview Media Academy.

Roosa the Quiet Artist

“I am so excited now that I am finally here,” Roosa says on her first day, but I don’t see any of that excitement on her face. In that moment I choose to open up and get to know her for the six weeks she will be spending with us.

As the Hazyview Media Academy, we are over the moon when Ryan James introduces Roosa in our morning circle as someone who has been working in the media industry for a magazine for over 10 years in Finland. “My job is layout – which photos and graphics suit which articles and choosing models for photoshoots. It is basically all the graphic design,” says Roosa.

Roosa the Humble Artist

Even with years and years of experience in graphic design, when you ask Roosa if she will be able to help in that field she always replies saying: “I will try.”

And then delivers a masterpiece.

Another example is Roosa’s visit to the Justicia Digital Learning Campus (JDLC), where she directed the artwork of our mini amphitheatre. It was looking a little concrete and we needed someone with spirit to give it the GWF spirit.

For someone who said she would “just try”, take a look at what she and the JDLC team did here.

Roosa the Comedic Artist

“I just love the way in South Africa people always seem to be happy and everyone is always smiling at you even if they don’t know you,” Roosa says, “that doesn’t happen much in Finland where everyone just goes about their business, but I think to be honest they are also scared to smile because of the cold that hurts their teeth,” says Roosa as she giggles and closes her mouth with one hand and gives me a friendly slap on my lap with the other.

Roosa the Beautiful and Brave Artist

Now I know why I didn’t see excitement on Roosa’s face when she arrived.

“I came to GWF with no expectations whatsoever, as I didn’t have time to think about it and get excited about the visit. I suddenly lost my brother to cancer shortly before coming here, and I almost didn’t come. It was the most tragic thing to happen to my family and me. I am so fortunate and humbled by the way I was made to feel warm and welcomed here. For a while, I forgot about the tragedy and just enjoyed my time here. I have met some of the most amazing people who I will miss dearly, including the ‘media corner’ where we would stand and have our lunch while the sun warmed our faces,” said Roosa when I asked her of her expectations of GWF before she came, and the memories she will take back home with her.

Roosa’s brother is survived by two boys whom Roosa says are her first priority when she gets home, despite the fact that they are going to drive her crazy within minutes of her arrival. She is also excited to let her nephews listen to the pieces of music she recorded at GWF’s music hub when they played the marimba.

“I will play that music every day at 2pm, and I will definitely feel like I am still with the GWF team.”

Among many things, Roosa has helped the Hazyview Media Academy create templates with GWF logos, and developed the team’s skills in Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom. You might have noticed our richer images on Facebook and Twitter, and the improved photos we are sharing.

That wouldn’t happen without the beautiful and brave Roosa Hyrsk from Finland who came to South Africa and put a smile on all of our faces.

We will miss you Roosa!


Roosa with the media team showing them a few tricks around Photoshop. It was such an amazing experience to know how much our I Mac machines can do.


It was always hard to get Roosa for a snap, but when you do, her smile is amazing. In this photo she decided she was going take a selfie with the media team.


Happy times in the office; the Media team takes a selfie with Roosa to celebrate their first and successful Photoshop lesson.


Gogo Mo with Roosa at Spur having a farewell lunch for Roosa. We have had such an amazing time with our Finnish friend and we will miss her dearly.

Written by: Accolade Ubisi