Editor's note: Elanco, a division of Eli Lilly and Company, and Heifer International partner because of a shared belief that healthy people and animals promote a healthy, hopeful future. Elanco, which works to develop products that improve animal health and protein production, currently supports projects in the Copperbelt region of Zambia, in Heibei Province in China and is also funding a project in India. Elanco employee Cassi Jo Schriefer traveled with the organization to India and Nepal to see how the partnership between Elanco and Heifer works.  

Cassi Jo Schriefer with a member of a Women's Self Help Group
Cassi Jo Schriefer fellowships with a member of a Women's Self Help Group.

"Fulfilling and sustaining life." That's why I work for Elanco. Here in the United States, it's easy to see how we as a company do that. We have innovative products that bring more food to the world, we work with local communities to help end hunger, and we bring value to our customers in turn helping them and their families have a more comfortable and fulfilling life. I did not realize the extent of what we do on a global level to help fulfill and sustain life until I was blessed to be able to visit India and Nepal in September. 

Before I went on this trip, I knew Heifer was a great program because it gave people animals to help them fight hunger and become self-sustaining. Little did I know, that fighting hunger is just a byproduct of what Heifer is really doing.  Heifer trains these women and teaches them about everything from gender equality to sharing and caring. I was able to see the work that Heifer is doing to help these women save money, have something of their own (a cow, goat or water buffalo) that they care for, and to teach them about things such as hygiene and gender equality and education for their daughters. I saw how friendships are formed through the Heifer groups, and I saw women standing up proud and tall, telling us how their marriages are better, their daughters are in school, and how they have great plans for the future. I saw deep appreciation for us Heifer guests. I saw sincere gratitude and joy for what they have been given through Heifer, and I saw smiles and felt hugs and happy emotions that don't need words to be communicated. It was through these encounters with women from all the way around the world who hardly have anything (anything ranging from material to emotional-like a fulfilling and happy marriage) that I learned what it truly means to live a life of thankfulness.  

"We feel this is a rebirth for us.  We're very happy from the inner part of our hearts.  We have built so much confidence that we now know we will only move forward.  From the help you have given us, we have been able to help others in return."

Through this trip, I was able to see that even though Elanco is truly helping to feed hungry mouths all over the world, we are doing SO much more than that with our work with Heifer. We are changing lives. We are empowering women. We are giving people a future. It occurred to me as I was sitting in a meeting room with candles light and flowers all around and beautiful women all smiling at me, that we are truly changing the world. Why do I do what I do? Changing the world and giving people hope and a future---and I have seen it with my own eyes. I couldn't be more proud to work with the company I do and to see the impact we have made. 

Help empower women all over the world.  

Author

Annie Bergman

Bergman is a Global Communications Manager for Heifer and helps plan, assign and develop content for the nonprofit’s website, magazine and blog. Bergman has interviewed survivors of the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia, beekeepers in Honduras, women’s groups in India and war widows in Kosovo in her six years at Heifer. Bergman received her bachelor’s degree in English Language and Literature from the University of Tulsa in Oklahoma and a master’s degree in Australian Aboriginal Studies from the University of Melbourne in Australia. Her hobbies include hiking, golfing, cooking, reading and walking her dogs.