Emanuel Ranch

1. Introduction

The idea of sleeping under concrete stairs or in tunnels is very scary, but some of the stories of young people just prove, that this can be the harsh reality of life.  Even they had homes, parents, their studies and many other things but the boundary between standard life and need is very fragile.

The main aim of human development is to expand opportunities for each individual.  It cannot be overlooked that for many young people in Slovakia, this chance is limited. It is caused mainly by poverty, poor family backgrounds, the irresponsible behavior of young people, substance abuse, gambling and many other reasons. This is why young people can end up homeless.  Many young people come from Children's Homes and are ill prepared, unable  to cope with the obstacles they have to face. They have to learn how to survive in situations which are often beyond their capabilities.   These young people are starting their adult life with fear on one hand and belief on the other.  Belief that they can integrate into civilian life. However, the reality in most cases is different. Suddenly they must take care of themselves and it is not as easy as they imagined.  Many of their dreams disappear and they may find themselves in jail or on the streets.  Girls, looking for a way out of a difficult situation very often end up in prostitution.  Most of them have come from dysfunctional families and a significant percentage have spent their childhood in Children's Homes. If they are lucky enough to meet someone who is prepared to stay close to them, accept them as they are, and if they receive appropriate feedback, they have a chance to find their way and gradually acquire a realistic picture of themselves, their abilities and the opportunities which lie ahead. However, if living in conditions which only provide a very poor negative response, they will end up without a foundation on which to rebuild their lives.

Therefore we would like to respond to the needs of these young people. ‘How can we help them?' And the answer to our question is the project Ranch Emanuel. 

2. Who are we?

Ranch Emanuel is a civil association officially established on 17.12.2008 and was registered with the Ministry of Interior of the Slovak Republic. The main purpose of the association is to provide help for young people who are having problems regarding their social status. The Organisation is based on Christian principles and is open to everyone regardless of age, race, ethnicity, nationality, religious or political views or education.

Our main thinking came from a desire to help young people from a disadvantaged social background (orphans, young people from dysfunctional families, victims of any kind of torture or abuse, young people leaving Children's Homes, victims of substance abuse after a rehabilitation process)  The basic law for helping vulnerable groups is found in the Constitution of the Slovak Republic based on a Charter of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms.  Paragraph 39 states: ‘Everyone in real need has the right to apply for the necessary help to ensure basic living standards.'

The desire to help the poorest was behind the creation of this Project, We would like to build on the needs of our clients - help those who can't help themselves 

We would like to help people before they end up on the streets without any sense of direction in their lives.

3. Project Description

The project will take the form of independent living in Ranch Emanuel, on a family eco farm.  In Ranch Emanuel we would like to provide social services based on the Social Assistance Act 448/2008. The capacity of Ranch Emanuel is accommodation for 10 people.  It will be an integrated system of learning, work, leisure and faith.  We would like to create a centre of formation activities, space for education, sport, fun and personal development.  We would like to reconcile aesthetic and spiritual values, support clients' aspirations and feelings.  We would like to create and support a family environment, in which our clients would find basic support related to their personal development - need of certainty, trust, active socialization, stability and balance.  Like every family, together with rules, traditions and habits, we would like to implement brotherly love, trust, happiness and tolerance.

We want Ranch Emmanuel to work towards an integrated educational environment for our clients.  Our employees will be in contact with the clients throughout the day, helping them develop their talents and interests in a happy atmosphere.  We hope that it will become a place, where people from disadvantaged backgrounds will find schooling, family values, leisure, and an opportunity for their personal development within a complex supportive system.  The main purpose will be to erase oppression because of poverty, but also to introduce real freedom for our clients preparing them for their return into society and everyday life.

4. Clients

We would like to focus our attention, mainly on young men ages 18-27, who are socially excluded, with limited opportunities and possibilities to live an independent life and also to deal with everyday problems.

It is particularly difficult for each person to live independently.  In each case it would be a specific group of clients very determined, influenced by their own history dating back to their childhood. Typical problems include difficulties with many aspects of life. They have to learn and absorb social skills, basic habits etc., if they wish to take control of their lives.. Giving them special attention is very important because normally they don't have anyone else to turn to. They are not aware of their rights and suffer from a lack of self esteem. Usually they have a real problem integrating into society and everyday life. The ability to adapt to live independently is a complex problem.  We see the importance of providing places where our clients can possibly

find help  because, at this moment, in Slovakia there is a lack of this kind of organisation.

4.1 Primary Clients Group

Young             people coming from Children's Homes, orphans, young people from dysfunctional families, from disadvantaged backgrounds, families in crisis, homeless.

4.2 Secondary Clients Group

Our employees - we would like to create adequate working conditions for their own personal development

People from around - people in real need whom we would like to help using occupational therapy.

We would like to focus on preventative measures - organizing events for children, families and young people.


5. The Objectives of the Project

The main objective is to build Ranch Emmanuel in the most natural, family environment possible, accommodating 10 male adults, whom we would like to assist at a particularly difficult stage in their lives.  We would hope to help them become independent, self confident and reliable individuals able to find their place in life, looking after themselves, living independently.  We would also like to help them gain social and working skills and habits.

            Education is mainly aimed at developing the potential of the young person,

making them aware of their own identity, their skills, and the ability to apply moral and civil responsibility. Before we can start with education, the basic needs of the individual must be secured.  This means feeding, clothing, housing, ensuring safety and security, and providing options for studies and work.

            5.1 Specific Objectives

To help our clients gain social skills and habits

To help develop permanent working skills and habits.

To help clients build their own background

To help clients acknowledge their own values and increase their personal development

To help clients learn all the aspects of team work by experiential learning

To create effective ways of cooperation and respect, and develop the specific characteristics of individuals

To create appropriate conditions enabling each client to make the most of his talents.

To  help clients gain inclusion into society and everyday life.

To implement effective and complex support for the social integration of the clients.

To offer our clients a complex package of help, including educational courses, advice and help with finding employment.

To help clients with minimal working skills and experience.

To provide material, social, health care and spiritual help.

Through evangelistic ways, help our clients grow in the spiritual areas of their lives.

Support the healthy self esteem of our clients and their personal development.


6. Founders of Ranch Emanuel


          Mgr. Lucia Mikurdova


Director of Ranch Emanuel and statutory representative of the Civic Organisation Ranch Emanuel

Lucia was born on 30. 11. 1982 in Kesmarok, but from early childhood she lived with her parents and siblings in Poprad.  At the moment she is living with her husband and two children in Scotland.. After high school, where she studied economics, she decide to do a Master's Degree in Social Work and in 2008 she graduated from the University of Presov.  During her studies she worked with young people in need, as a volunteer, where she gained a lot of experience. She also worked in Zakovce as a social worker, mainly with homeless women and girls coming from Children's Homes.  The Organisation also focuses on helping people previously in prison, victims of human trafficking, single mothers, people with disabilities and old people.

            After graduating from university and gaining more experience, she decided together with her husband Mark, to found Ranc Emanuel and continue to help people in need.

            Marek Mikurda

Deputy Director and statutory representative of Ranc Emanuel

Marek was born on 30.11.1986 in Poprad, the eldest of 5 children.  This beautiful environment in which he was reared, taught him a love of nature and people. This led to his work as an animator in a local centre for young people. After finishing high school, he began working as an animator with ethnic minorities, mainly Roma young people in Krizova Ves.  The results of his excellent work led him to think about opening his own centre for poor young people in need.

            In the future he hopes to do his Master's Degree in Social Work.

7. Motivation of the Applicant

Our main aim is to help young people coming from disadvantaged backgrounds who are in need.  In Slovakia there is a significant lack of similar types of organisations, despite the fact that the number of young people, in need, is increasing.  In many places one can see young people living in desperation with no moral or spiritual guidance.

These young people need to be helped as they struggle to begin their adult independent lives.  Very often we can see many cases where they end up on the streets as homeless, as a result of lack of help and support.  Mainly it is because they come from backgrounds lacking material and emotional support, having significant problems in adapting to the reality of everyday living. They also have minimal working skills and experience, We would like to offer help, support and a background creating positive relationships, which can heal and restore lost motivation for their future lives.

8. Ranch Emanuel - Half-way House

Type:  Half-way house - Statute no. 448/2008 paragraph 27

Capacity:  10 people

Clients:  Male adults aged 18-27

Length of stay:  0-4years

We would like to develop Ranch Emanuel with fewer clients, providing more space to focus on the quality of social services. We would also like to provide accommodation for social services, counselling, preventative measures, different types of the therapy, and individual and group work.

            Clients would be able to find administrational, social and spiritual help and also assistance. In some cases we will be working with other specialists to remove psychological and personal defects and a lack of social development.

            Among other things we would like to help our clients improve their education, working skills and experience.

            Clients would also be under the supervision of professionals, learning all the domestic skills, such as, cooking, washing, time and finance management, all of which are essential for independent living.


9. Services Provided



In Ranch Emanuel we will be offering accommodation for clients  according to the Collection of Laws no. 448/2008 paragraph 27.  It will be a residential form of social services according to paragraph 13, no. 448/2008.  Accommodation will be provided for a temporary time, maximum of 4 years, but it will possible to extend it twice after a minimum break of 1 year.


Social Services

Social services will be provided according to the Collection of Laws no. 448/2008.   We will also provide all other services according to current legislation for our clients, regardless of race, religious or political views, education, nationality or ethnicity.


Individual Work

All our methods are based on an overall atmosphere of acceptance of each individual, focusing on motivation and stimulation in order to achieve their overall development. 

Through individual work, we would focus on initial interviews, and on motivation and stimulation to lead clients to a responsible way of life.   We would also like to develop in more detail a client's anamnesis to determine a social diagnosis to put in place an emergency plan for social intervention as well as a plan individual stimulation. 


Group Work

We would like to utilize a variety of activities, mainly sports, leading to the formation of friendships, team work and, by using a positive influence, solve actual problems. We are planning to start an I.T. course for clients, as part of their personal development.


Social Help

Our social workers will be involved in social programs, offering social and legal counselling focusing early on solutions to problems which our clients may have in these areas.


Social Counselling

Planning and realising, in cooperation with our clients, the necessary steps which are needed to solve their problems. Trying to find the range of social needs, giving advice and information re applying for different forms of social help.



Helping our clients with official documents and accompanying them to Councils and all the other official institutions.


Spiritual Therapy, Spiritual Counselling

Activities, such as attending Mass, prayers, confession, adoration, pilgrimage,. Spirituality has proved a very successful tool in creating positive changes in the personal life and moral values of an individual.


Anamneses Interview

It includes personal, family, medical and professional anamnesis.  It also plays a very important role in working with clients, since it is the main source of information about the individual and his problems. Therefore, it is the foundation for any future plans when working with clients.


Other Documents of the Clients

Medical, Curriculum Vitae, School Reports, Employment Contracts, Reports from Councils, Court Reports. etc.


10. Economy of Ranch Emanuel

The term ‘farm‘refers to the basic unit of agriculture, where animal husbandry will be found. The building itself will be surrounded by land, for the cultivation of crops of all kinds.

            Our eco farm will be slightly different from the others. On the farm the most important thing is the production of crops and the rearing of livestock, but on our eco farm the most important thing will be the personal development of young people.


Purpose and characteristics of the Project

The main purpose of founding Ranch Emanuel is the development of clients' skills, resulting in the integration of young people into independent everyday life.

The principal advantage of the eco farm is the availability of a variety of activities and options for the personal development of our clients.  As part of a working therapy, clients will also be involved in the operation of the farm.  Animals from the eco farm will be available for ZOO therapy. Cultivation of crops and the animals will allow more self sufficiency. Produce from crops and the animals will be used for food for our clients.

Occupational Therapy - Many young people coming to our farm as clients are disadvantaged because of their lack of working skills and responsibility.  We would like to create appropriate conditions where we would be able to, through farming, implement occupational therapy..  Occupational therapy is a specialised activity, through which our clients will acquire work skills and habits, and by implementing activities, under supervision, will restore, maintain and develop their physical and mental abilities and also work skills.  All social work theories consider the need of having occupational therapy.  Through this therapy we would like to work with our clients to develop existing work skills, but also to acquire new skills, increasing their self confidence and usefulness.

      ZOO therapy is one of the other advantages we would like to offer our clients.  It is based on the positive, mutual interaction between client and animal.  It uses the positive effect of an animal on the physical and emotional health of a human being.  Our clients can learn various types of work used in agriculture, which can be very effective, if applying in the future for jobs in this area.  Our clients will learn:

            a)  control work in crops and livestock produce

            b)  processing agricultural produce

            c)  performing and managing work in growing field crops

            d)  performing and managing work in animal husbandry

            e)  knowing the principles of cultivation and animal husbandry

            f)  cooking and processing agricultural produce

            Through agriculture we would like our clients to become wise, responsible,             caring, kind and tolerant people. We would like to create a relationship          between them and the environment in which they live, through the basic             components of knowing, protecting and enhancing wildlife, the environment             and human relationships.

Our farm will rely on nature for the production of crops and livestock.  We want our clients to be part of nature.  We would like to work to the best of our ability to get food from the surrounding countryside, using systems as close as possible to those which occur in nature. We would like to work a system of closed cycle farming. For example, using manure and organic matter to produce healthy soil, minimising soil erosion and the loss of nutrients and water. Through organic farming we would like to create a link between nature and man using intense methods but with a smaller effect.  We are aware that healthy  land and a respect for the environment are very important for the lives of people and animals. We respect the environment through:

            1. responsible use of energy and natural resources

            2. maintenance of biodiversity

            3. maintaining regional ecological balance

            4. improving soil fertility

            5. maintaining water quality


We also respect animals through;

            1. supporting the good health and welfare of animals

            2. meeting the special needs of animal behavior


Ranch Emanuel will also have environmentally friendly gardens established according to the principles of nature, without the use of chemicals, which after two or three years will almost require no time or money and will not produce any waste, because of a balanced natural habitat. The gardens will be a source for healthy food, a spiritual refuge and a place for relaxation.  Our farm will also include the economic and natural breeding of animals which will provide animal produce in the healthiest form.  Taking into account the needs of individual species, we will provide, for all animals, a healthy and natural environment such as sunshine, fresh air, freedom of movement and contact with a natural environment through breeding pastures.

            Ideally the farm will also include a natural water source with the creation of wetlands in appropriate parts of the land and the establishment of designated lakes in which to fish.  The spiritual principle of our farming should be premaculture design -sustainable economic development without producing waste.

            The farm in Ranch Emanuel will differ from others, not only in the fact that it is designed to develop the skills and personalities of our clients, but also in the fact that we will protect fields, streams, trees and hills which surround us, creating a beautiful environment which will offer beauty and utility.   We want to maintain and improve the countryside, including the creation and maintenance of:


            a)  hedges

            b)  native flora and fauna

            c) natural waterways


11. Workshops


In Ranch Emanuel we would like to provide carpentry and machine workshops, giving our clients an opportunity to achieve skills which they will be able to apply to real life. We would hope to teach them discipline, completion of tasks, time keeping and how to keep a job.

            We plan to develop and continuously improve the means for the professional training of young people to enable them to successfully begin their working life.  An important objective is to expand jobs and employ young people directly in our operation. Occupational therapy through designed activities contributes to social inclusion of young people into society and creates conditions for their integration into the labour market by improving their knowledge, practical skills and experience in areas which are required by potential employers. 



12. Material Equipment



      Ranch Emanuel will consist of 5 Units. Each will contain two rooms,                      accommodating 6 clients.  Each Unit will also include a small kitchen for preparing basic meals.   There will also be a bathroom and toilets providing suitable conditions for implementing basic personal care and hygiene ( Law no. 448/2008




      This will be used to prepare meals for our clients.  They will be involved in food preparation through occupational therapy. They will assist with cooking in order to gain skills and become self-sufficient.  The kitchen will include a washroom where dishes from the kitchen and dining room can be cleaned.


 Dining Room

        The dining room will be used for serving meals which will be provided for the           clients as well as suitable conditions for food preparation.


  I.T.  Room

        We would like our clients to gain at least basic computing skills which they    might find very essential in the future.



      The main purpose is to educate our clients, increasing their knowledge and       developing their skills.


Laundry and Linen Storage Room

      This will be set up to meet the needs of our clients - appropriate conditions for             washing, clothing maintenance and ironing.


 Leisure Time Room

       Here our clients will be able to spend their free time, and it will be developed and       adapted according to the numbers.


Visiting Room.

       This will allow visitors undisturbed privacy for conversation.


Room associated with the running of  Ranch Emanuel

      WC for staff, a room for cleaning products and equipment.



      These will be used for the purpose of administration to ensure the smooth running of Ranch Emanuel.



Stables for animals.  We want to provide, for the animals, the most natural environment which enables them to maximise their comfort, a good healthy one with no confined spaces.

Hayloft  This  provides storage for the hay which is essential for the animals, especially in winter.



We would like our clients to learn a craft, increasing their chances of employment, helping them develop their skills. This is our main effort.


Ranch Emanuel will also include:


Playgrounds  The concept of prevention is the best way forward, getting to know young people, while diagnosing their needs, as an educator, living with them in a relaxed and family atmosphere. The playground is an invitation to relax, increase optimism and create deep family ties. It is a time of real  satisfaction, reflecting a real family atmosphere.  Understanding the relationship between clients and educators, not based on formal speeches, opens the doors for a personal meeting.  Playgrounds create a friendship which persists well beyond them.


13. Qualitative and Measurable Results of the Project


10 clients who receive accommodation for 4 years will be protected from the dangers of the streets and helped to return to everyday life. Ranch Emanuel will provide not only housing, food, a warm bed, but also a wide range of services and plenty of space to develop their skills and their personality.

The growth of professional skills, experience and expertise.

Support and development of the skills in information and communication technologies.

Courses which will improve our clients' knowledge.

Stable work habits which will help them integrate into normal working life in an external environment

A system providing leisure time activities, and the development of spiritual and physical growth.

To increase the confidence of our clients, acquiring social skills but also working skills and knowledge.

Training programmes for our staff and volunteers, in the area of social skills, psychology etc. In addition the project aims to develop social entrepreneurship.

For our employees we would like to create the best working conditions for their whole development.  We realise that, if we invest in our employees, improving their skills and knowledge, they will become better educators for our clients. 

A family environment will be essential in Ranch Emanuel, because it is the best environment for a young person's development.

Advice and assistance in completing retraining courses.

The growth of professional skills.




14. Funding


Funding for this project will go through the Ranch Emanuel Civic Association. Like any other public entity or profit sector we cannot manage without help from outside and we are constantly thinking about ways to cover our financial needs in order to stabilize our existence and cost sharing. We would like to operate according to certain principles:

Principle of more sources - the essence of this principle is to seek and use multiple sources of funding

Principle of obtaining funds and non-financial resources for use. These resources we would like to obtain both from the internal but more so from the external environment.

Projects - we would like to apply for funds from donors through various projects.

Principle of effectiveness- we would like to achieve successful long-term funding for effective operations. We wish to achieve meaningful results from using resources at the lowest possible cost.

We would also like to get financial resources through:

Private companies - investment and development projects where we approach private companies for funding

Private foundations resources - public projects in social, agricultural and environmental areas, supporting children and the youth.

Own resources

Public collections - projects or programs of individual ministries.

Financial donations from individuals, which we will obtain through auction, public collections or donation contracts.

We will send an English version of the project for foreign donors.

We will send a German version of the project for foreign donors.

Cooperation with personal and business donors

Saving by using crop and livestock produce. We would like to produce plants and animal produce, which will allow us to be more self-sufficient in catering for our clients and staff, hoping to achieve 85% self-sufficiency.

Use of renewable energy sources.(RES0

Very often organisations have to invest large amounts of money for energy and heating bills, ultimately leading to their decline.  This experience has taught us that if we want to provide quality services for our clients, we have to be financially self- sufficient.  We aim to achieve complete self-sufficiency in energy and heating, through the use of alternative sources of energy (solar heating, heating with wood)


15 Epilogue 

Through Ranch Emanuel we would like to eliminate a negative life impact for our clients.  After all, based on many sociological surveys, we can only agree with the theory, that if a person is experiencing difficulties and in need , very often, they turn to extreme solutions. Often this is their first experience with drugs, later becoming addicted.  Various criminal activities may occur, the client closing in on himself with no means of communication with the outside world. Closely related  is the loss of interest in their surroundings,  loss of  interest in friends, leisure activities, and a reluctance to develop  their own personality and ability to enjoy life.