Degrassi helps build a school in Kenya

Tyrone Warner,

Thanks to the efforts from the cast and crew, the fictional Degrassi Community School now has its own real-life sister school smack in the middle of the Masai Mara in Oloomirani, Kenya.

Over the course of the summer the cast and crew of Degrassi have been fundraising to build an addition to the Motony Primary School in Africa.

As part of a “Free the Children” project, an addition needed to be built for the Motony Primary School after enrolment became too large for the school.

Jumping headfirst into the charity project, Degrassi decided to take their commitment another step further. Some of the cast decided to pay their way to Kenya to help with the building process out of their own pockets.

Cast members on the trip included Nina Dobrev (Mia), Marc Donato (Derek), Dalmar Abuzeid (Danny), James Johnston (Peter), Jake Epstein (Craig), and two new additions, Charlotte Arnold and Raymond Ablack.

Flying from Toronto’s Pearson Airport, the cast and crew transferred to a set of smaller planes in Nairobi and continued on to their destination.

Breaking ground at the site of the construction, Dobrev and Johnston laughed as the sun hung low in the African sky.

The two-week process involved carrying wooden trusses and applying mud to the exterior walls of the extension.

The mood was light during construction, with lots of joking around between the Degrassi gang and the local community. Masai Warriors even pitched in and were later spotted checking out a copy of the graphic novel “Degrassi: Generations.”

The finishing touch was a silver Degrassi sign flown straight in from Epitome Production’s Toronto studios that was affixed to the side of the new building.

Documentarians were on hand for the project for a future MTV special. Local children were also spotted helping out the crew carry their equipment around the community.

The cast returned to Toronto earlier this week.

Stay tuned for more podcasts, photogalleries and broadband footage about the cast’s adventure right here on

MTV Canada will be airing “MTV Presents: Degrassi in Kenya” on Thursday Oct. 18 at 7pm ET.


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