PROCEEDS from this year’s Barrhead Balloon Race for Kibera will help to feed malnourished kids in Kenya.

Organisers from four of the town’s churches have pledged support to starving schoolchildren who are struggling to concentrate in the classroom because of their hunger.

More than 1,200 balloons were released into the sky outside St Andrew’s Parish Church last Saturday as part of the annual event, which aims to raise funds for kids in one of Africa’s poorest slums.

Now in its 11th year, the project was started by members of Barrhead Bourock Church who had visited a Presbyterian church in poverty-stricken Kibera.

A committee was created, made up of churchgoers from St Andrew’s, the United Reformed Church and the Methodist Church, to raise enough money to build a school for Kenya’s most-disadvantaged children.

The school was completed three years later with support from the yearly balloon race, which remains an important fundraising initiative.

Participants in the balloon race are asked to make a donation in return for a balloon containing a completed address form.

Prizes are given to the owners of the balloons that are found the furthest distance away £100 in prize money, while the second and third-furthest win £75 and £50 respectively.

One of last year’s balloon race entries landed near Inverness, while balloons have also been discovered as far away as Sunderland and north Wales.

Around £1,600 has been raised from this year’s event, with more cash still to be counted.

Jim Mitchell, chairman of the Kibera Project, said: “Kibera is the biggest slum in Africa and has very few facilities.

“A few years ago, we built a school in Kibera but one of the things we’ve found is that children who go to school hungry don’t concentrate as much.

“The school we support has decided to start a feeding programme to encourage the kids to come to school and to help them concentrate.”