Each year, the eighth-grade class organizes several fundraising efforts to help pay for their year-end trip. This year, not only did they help raise funds for their class, they also raised funds for Ishmael Mhikea and learned all about Zimbabwe’s past.

During a summer trip, one of our Waldorf families met Ishmael and thought to bridge the connection with helping Ishmael by selling his recycled metal art figures as a fundraising effort for their class. While Ishmael benefits from a new marketplace for his incredible recycled metal works of art, the eighth grade learned about Zimbabwe’s political and economic unrest and what can happen to ordinary citizens when inflation spirals out of control.

Ishmael’s Story Inspires Eighth Graders to Learn About Zimbabwe’s Past

Because of Ishmael’s story, the eighth-grade class was inspired to learn more about the history and economic past of Zimbabwe. They learned about Cecil Rhodes and how he founded Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe and Zambia), formed De Beers diamond company, and later became Prime Minister.  They had economic lessons on what causes run-away inflation. They now understand what happens when governments keep printing money to keep up with out-of-control inflation. Students got into character and pretended to be farmers in Zimbabwe with decreasing food supplies. Using real Zimbabwean currency, they quickly realized how bidding wars start when supply does not meet the demand.

This project is a great example of how Waldorf education brings a visceral learning experience to each class. What better way to learn about history, politics, and social economics than this?

Meet 37-year-old Zimbabwean artist, Ishmael Mhike.   Read Ishmael’s story.

Learn more about Ishmael’s work. See his flyer.

We thank our eighth graders for taking on this opportunity in helping others. A great example for all our students to see, as we celebrate our 30th anniversary with service.

Eighth graders selling Ishmael’s recycled metal figures at the Enchanted Fair.