In April 2003, eight students from a seminary visited Hatigarh, a village 70KM (44 mi.) from Balasore, the district headquarters. Stationed in Hatigarh, these students visited surrounding Tribal villages, gathering the children and teaching them songs and moral stories. One effective method was the distribution
of tracts to those that could read words. The staggering needs of some villages compelled the team to have prayer walks throughout the streets. During the two-week journey, the team visited 20-30 disconnected villages by foot and cycle.
Every year since 2003, Abhijit Nayak who was one of the original team members, has led a team of students to these villages to continue the work among the destitute and downtrodden. After much careful observation and prayer, these initiatives resulted in a permanent work in April of 2005. Abhijit gathered a group of like-minded, local Christians from Odisha (Orissa) along with the team members and decided to register as a non-profit with the government of India under the name STEP. The acronym STEP was chosen as the official name because of the socio-physical and spiritual needs in the region with the vision to impact people (Society) with a goal to bring changes (Transformation), knowledge (Education), and hope for social mobility (Progress).
From 2005 to 2009 STEP organized medical camps, children’s clubs, distributed relief materials during disasters in the area and performed outreaches through literature distribution. This was all done by the contribution of Indian STEP board members and local people. Then in 2010 the STEP property was purchased with only the support of the local people. As the property was developed the ministry still continued through various activities such as children’s clubs and outreach programs in the villages. The actual building was begun in 2011 with a guesthouse and in 2013 a primary health center was built. During this time the sewing center for women, the driving school for men and the East India Native Pastors Network (EINPN) was initiated. By March 2013 a first ever indigenous workers conference was held on the property with 75 pastors from the area attending. STEP also funded the drilling of six pump well in remote villages in Orissa and conducted a medical camp. The medical camp treated 700 people and distributed 550 reading glasses.
In 2014 the Esther Women’s Network (EWN) was launched at the first ever women’s conference in February. The goal of EWN was come along side of hurting, marginalized and persecuted women. The long term for EWN is to train women with counseling so that they can help empower all women who are suffering from domestic violence, abuse and poverty.