About STEP (UK)
STEP (UK) is a development charity committed to working alongside young people and their families in the Kurdish region of Iraq.
By providing a safe environment and offering education, social welfare, health advice and support STEP brings hope to the children and enables them to reach their full potential, empowering them to help others do the same.
STEP is committed to:
- Equality of opportunity for all
- Listening to children's voices
- Beneficiaries participation in project design and development
- Working in partnership with local government, NGOs and agencies
- Team work
- Accountability and openness
- Equip and mentor nationals to be effective in project leadership
- Effectiveness and efficiency
What Drives Us?
Poverty forces many children to drop-out of school to work, which increases their vulnerability and decreases future opportunities.
STEP assists such disadvantaged children, seeks to strengthen local education authorities in their ability to assist the children, provides safe places for the children to rest and provides child protection services for working children.
Poverty reduction must begin with the protection and realisation of the human rights of children. Investments in children are the best guarantee for achieving equitable and sustainable human development.
Many children work 10-14 hours a day and have no time or energy for education. Depriving children of education ensures that the cycle of poverty and exploitation continues. Whilst illiteracy and lack of education is a leading factor causing and exacerbating poverty, child labour gives individuals no opportunity to break out of exploitative labour.
Child labour can not be tackled in isolation. The children who work form a key part to their families economic survival. Therefore, the project has widened its focus from not just the children's immediate situation but to the needs of their families, who are also vulnerable.
Our Team and Trustees
Our workers seek to build relationships with local people using their professional skills for the betterment of the people they serve.
STEP has a team of international and local staff working on the ground in Iraqi Kurdistan.
In the UK, STEP have a team of trustees and an Advisory Board who are responsible for the UK management and governance of STEP. They work to support, strengthen and expand upon the work happening in northern Iraq.
If you are interested in joining the Advisory Board or becoming a trustee, please get in touch.
There are many ways that you can support the work of STEP.
Our Story in Iraq
STEP began working in Northern Iraq back in 2001 when the Kurdish people were still suffering under the regime of Saddam Hussein.
During the war of 2003, STEP provided emergency support to orphans, working children and internally displaced young people, who had no place to go to during the time of crisis.
After the war, STEP extended its work and efforts into the areas previously under the control of Saddam Hussein's Iraqi government.
The establishment of the Kurdish Regional Government after the war has seen the Kurdish people gain some degree of autonomy within the new Iraq, but there remains an historical trail of desperate poverty and trauma within this community.
It was the plight of the vulnerable children that prompted STEP to start its work with the drop-in centre in Suleimany, Iraqi Kurdistan.
The work and credibility of this project fostered strong relationships with the local government departments and in 2008 STEP became a recognised partner of UNICEF.
With the ongoing crisis situation in Syria and the rise of ISIS in the Middle East, the needs in Iraqi Kurdistan are greater than ever.
STEP continues to deliver frontline support.