Jok Abraham Thon, founder of Promised Land Secondary School in Juba, South Sudan, believes that human beings can "change their minds from bullets to books". Inspired by Jok's mission, we started BULLETS TO BOOKS, a global transformer that relies on education and cultural exchange for peace and unity.
Bullets to Books launched in 2019 to help Jok realize his mission. We will bring Jok to the United States to tour several schools around the country to talk about his mission and to go to South Sudan to work with lead architect Moses Mawa and MASS Design Group to replace Promise Land Secondary School's temporary structure with a permanent one. Our film will follow this effort.
Thanks to the support of the US Embassy in Juba, the Arts Envoy Program, and the Mandela Washington Fellowship Reciprocal Exchange component, we went to South Sudan to begin our efforts on BULLETS TO BOOKS. We led art, music, and filmmaking workshops, started to film our documentary film, collaborated with artists and musicians as well as met with Americans and South Sudanese students and adults who are committed in efforts to bring peace and unification to South Sudan.
89.7 Top FM in Juba South Sudan hosted Jon Cebra, pubic affairs office at the US Embassy, Juba, and Gail Prensky to talk about BULLETS to BOOKS and The Jüdische Kulturbund Project. Listen here to the program. (June 7, 2019)
I AM PEACE musicians wrote and performed the BULLETS TO BOOKS theme song produced by Ochwo Junior Linus at Asylum Records Ltd in Juba. (June 9, 2019)
Several months later in South Sudan, director/cinematographer/editor Achuoth Deng and I AM PEACE and The Jüdische Kulturbund Project produced a music video based on the theme music.
In October 2020, Mandela Washington Fellowship Alumnus Jok Abraham Thon and Reciprocal Exchange Participant Gail Prensky were invited to discuss the power of storytelling, as part of the Fellowship's virtual programming for Alumni and 2020 selected candidates. Their discussion introduced a module facilitated by Institute Partners from the University of Georgia on Digital Storytelling: New Models to Promote Local Initiatives After a Crisis.
South Sudanese artist Akot Solip shared watercolor samples that depict what BULLETS TO BOOKS mean to him.
BULLETS TO BOOKS continues to inspire, such as . . .
A POEM ABOUT BULLETS TO BOOKS by Gour Atem Gour, 2019 alumni of The Promised Land Secondary School.
Stars in the House hosted a special BULLETS TO BOOKS virtual event on February 20, 2021. Featuring musicians Jessie Muehler and August Hauss. The event raised awareness and support for the rebuilding of Promised Land Secondary School. The next day, Playbill featured BULLETS TO BOOKS to help with the effort.
PROGRESS AT PROMISED LAND
In 2016, Jok and friends built temporary structures made out of bamboo, mud, and cement. In order to continue Jok's mission to bring peace to his country and the world by curing illiteracy and encouraging empowerment, new structures need to be built. Thanks to the Bullets to Books team's efforts to raise awareness and support and architect Moses Mawa's vision, Jok has started constructing permanent buildings on the Ubuntu Campus at Promised Land.
Renderings of the Ubuntu Campus, designed by Moses Mawa, October 2021
Ruth Bader Ginsburg Building, construction started in 2021
Bullets to Books Library, construction started in 2021
The South Sudan flag flies above the Digital Screening and Computer Center standing between the Bullets to Books Library and the Ruth Bader Ginsburg Building, September 18, 2021
More About the Project
The Jüdische Kulturbund Story
Exploring Issues of Oppression
Artivists — The Exhibition
Hannah's Dance — The Performance
Remembering the Jews of Greece — The Music Performance
Singer — The Dramatic Feature Film
The Ring Project — The Multimedia Play
3 Frames / By Me — The Play
Public Program Events