The donkeys at the Quinta do Barco Cheio are used in therapeutic sessions as stimulation on cognitive, physical, motoric and emotional level for people with different kind of disabilities. They are mostly ground-based activities. Some key words are: contact, emotions, interaction, communication, social integration, and autonomy.
Different local and regional institutions have used these facilities and practices.
The nonprofit association "Orelhas sem Fronteiras" (Ears Without Frontiers), of which Liesbeth Bronswijk is a member, has been studying and promoting various uses of the donkey today, not only in Portugal, but also at an international level.
The guests of the Quinta do Barco Cheio can circulate freely around and participate in agricultural work and livestock tasks. All help is welcome.
Eventually guests can also come across or integrate with the users of the Asinotherapy, trainees or with some senior people that come to help in the vegetable garden or to visit the donkeys and refresh some old memories. It is certainly a different and gratifying experience.
The use of the swimming pool (an old irrigation tank) or the covered barbecue area, as well as other fresh and comfortable spots of the farm, allow contact with the countryside surroundings.
The vegetable garden is grown through environmentally and healthy friendly practices without addition of synthetic fertilizers. Composting and the manure produced by the donkeys guarantee the best quality of the fruit and vegetables produced on the farm, as well as the processed products like homemade jam and quince marmalade.
The guests are welcome to pick and consume products of the season: tomatoes, lettuce, loquats, quinces, grapes, pears, apples, apricots, spice plants ... the eggs also come from our hens and, for those not used to it, it is nice to recall the real taste of eggs ...
The electricity which we consume is produced by photovoltaic panels, water is heated by a solar system and dirty water is purified by plants.