Described as "one of the poorest, most remote and most culturally conservative regions in the world", the mountainous Kohistan region in Pakistan is also, according to Act for Peace, "one of the worst places in the world to be a woman."

CHANGED LIVES: Yesmeen and her daughter at one of the rural health centres in remote Kohistan, Pakistan supported by Act for Peace.
PICTURE: Jordan McCarthy/Act for Peace

The organisation - the international aid agency of the National Council of Churches in Australia - says once married, women, who have an average 10 to 12 children, are almost never allowed to leave their homes, meaning they almost always give birth at home without the aid of a health care assistant.

As well as helping people in other conflict-affected parts of the world, funds raised in Act for Peace's annual Christmas Bowl appeal will this year help to provide quality health workers and doctors the area to raise awareness of the importance of health care and hygiene and help women to access pre and post-natal care.

Fehmida is one of few female health workers in the region and works for one of several rural health centres Act for Peace supports. 

She says women suffer most in the area - wives and girls are the first to go hungry if there isn't enough food - and they have no education and are not allowed to socialise.

But Fehmida says the rural health centres are making a difference in their lives.

"We are seeing more women coming into the clinic for pre- and post-natal care. When they do come to the clinic, I try to educate them about women’s health issues, nutrition and hygiene.”

To give to the Christmas Bowl Appeal, call 1800 025 101 or see www.actforpeace.org.au.