Congee Festival: Healing Hunger through Generosity, Collaboration and Inclusivity
Editor’s note: This is a Special Feature story of Yalah Zamboanga. With our vision to promote the Zamboanga Peninsula region, in general, we go deep down to unfold great stories you haven’t heard. Today, we are humbled to present to you the story of Congee Festival – a local initiative of local commoners who have great hearts. You may follow #congeefestival stories on our Twitter, @yalah_zamboanga and Facebook, @yalahzamboanga.
Aesop once said, no act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.
Kindness which is defined as an act of compassion, humanity, love, concern and sympathy are words that I can use to describe the advocate behind Congee Festival, Mr. Al – Frazier Ahalul.
Being inspired of what he sees around him, looking at the sad face of life, witnessing street children suffering from hunger are the factors that pushed him to build a project that he called Congee Festival which started last March of this year – simply aims to feed street children since the issue of food security and hunger has never been more crucial than what it is today.
Mr. Ahalul stressed that in Zamboanga alone, out of millions, there are people living in dire situation and most of them don’t eat properly day by day. They are starving to death. They beg even for some left over food just to fill their empty stomach. He is a reminder of the striking line of the piece entitled “Democracy’s Relevance against the Growing Threat of Global Terrorism” that says “Fear is everywhere. The economy is falling. Illnesses are spreading. POVERTY is right next door.” Truly poverty kills millions of people. The sad fact that we cannot end hunger unless we end poverty.
Where #CongeeFestival started
“I was in Magay market, and I’ve seen a lot of street children… begging for small amount of food or coins in a coffee shops, everywhere. I’ve witnessed a laborer or even a street vendor who could afford to give them (money or food) in spite of their small income. Can you imagine that?” Mr. Ahalul shared.
“Then the thought came into my mind, if they can, why can’t I? I said to myself tomorrow, I’ll be giving them (street children) as well. There where Congee Festival started. The next day, I cooked Aroz Caldo and gathered all the street children from 7:00 AM to 9:00 AM and fed them.” Al-Frazier opined.
The basic thought of Congee Festival is its first principle – generosity. It is because of his courage to give hope to the street children, that there’s someone who cares for them enthusiastically to make them feel better through the concept of Congee Festival, where everyone is welcome to attend and participate.
Where #humansofCongee have gone so far
“After some times, we reached the Zamboanga City Jail feeding the prisoners, prepared tons of congee. We also went to MASEPLA Mampang Transitory Site and Home for the Ages as well.”
He proudly shared that Congee Festival wouldn’t be formed and aided street kids without the genuine help of Congee People. They are volunteers and solid supporters of the said advocacy, composed of adults and youths from diffirent walks of life. They are in one mission with the man behind Congee Festival in making change which is essential in our modern age – most especially for the young ones that truly need support. In doing this event they already fed hundreds of street children and it is still on the road in reaching other communities in Zamboanga City.
“Congee Festival is a hub. It’s just like a social obligation… if gusto mo magpakain ng mga bata, you go to Congee.” Nur Danial said. He is working as professor in one of the universities in Zamboanga City, one of the solid and proud supporters of Congee Festival.
3 Basic Principle of Congee Festival
Congee as Festival in concept follows its three (3) basic principles: GENEROSITY, COLLABORATION AND INCLUSIVITY.
Congee Festival has this notion that we are all generous by nature. People are good by giving and sharing blessings. Through collaboration, working hand and hand, the advocacy will become a tradition where people who will be left behind will continue its legacy in touching the lives of others. And by being open for all, no matter what their views and beliefs in lives are, they are at home in Congee Festival, working together as one team with one goal. No matter what they look like and dialect they speak, what matters the most is they are one in this mission. Because in Congee Festival, by serving others we become free.
Mr. Al-Frazier Ahalul and people behind Congee Festival prove that happiness doesn’t result from what we get, but from what we give. They are the epitome of people in our modern days that embody compassion and love for others. The people who stand for GENEROSITY, COLLABORATION AND INCLUSIVITY – three powerful words that will serve as foundation in changing lives of others.
Want to be part of the mission?
If you are with Congee Festival’s principle of generosity, you might want to join the force. Express us your intent by using the form you see at the bottom of this website, or in the comments below. You may also contact Mr. Ahalul directly and know more about the mission through his Facebook, please visit here or chat one of Yalah’s FB page admin, here.Sponsored: