Women’s Empowerment and Voice is a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization that provides education, mentoring, and leadership development programs for girls and women in economically challenged communities in Vietnam.

Who We Are

We are professors, Vietnam Veterans, Vietnamese Americans and advocates for education for girls and women world-wide.

Lois T. Vietri, Ph.D, founder and Executive Director, laid the groundwork for Women’s Empowerment and Voice during her academic career at the University of Maryland College Park. Co-founder of the Maryland Vietnam Partnership, her activities including teaching courses about the Vietnam war and contemporary Vietnam, sponsoring conferences and Ford and Fulbright scholars from Vietnam and leading study abroad programs in Vietnam.

The Board of Women’s Empowerment and Voice

Maria Carzon has a wealth of experience serving Vietnamese refugee youth at the Indochinese Community Center -Youth Leadership Program and Asian-American LEAD.  She brings skills in event planning, contract administration, and financial and board management.

Margaret Colleluori has extensive experience in nonprofit management, job training and placement, marketing and social enterprise. She holds an MBA from the University of Baltimore.

Dang Thi Ngoc Lan, Ph.D is an international educator and administrator. She is an expert in gender studies, leadership development, mentoring, and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics).

Ed Henry, a Vietnam veteran, is a travel consultant specializing in Southeast Asia. Over the last 25 years, Ed has served as a guide for thousands of U.S. veterans traveling back to Vietnam and is the official photographer of WEAV.

Anna Marie Marrollo, CPA works with Ernst and Young’s Tax Performance Advisory practice in Philadelphia. She has extensive global taxation experience and comes to WEAV with a long and rich history of volunteerism.

Ken Liffiton currently resides in Vietnam, and provides management consulting services and data analytics to banks.  He is a University of Maryland alumnus and holds an MBA from Thunderbird School of Global Management.

Thanh Thuy Nguyen is a leader in the Asian American community and an accomplished financial services professional and philanthropist. Like Margaret and Lois, Thuy is a Rosemont College alumna.

Scott N. Sforza served as White House Deputy Director of Communications. He received an Emmy for coverage of the Gulf War while at ABC’s Nightline.  He is a global communications consultant and a University of Maryland alumnus.

What We Do

WEAV awards scholarships so that girls from poor Vietnamese families receive the most education possible. Only boys can expect to be educated at the primary and secondary levels. We work with teachers and administrators in the poorest provinces to identify those girls who need financial support to stay in school. Scholarships are awarded to keep girls in grades 1 through 12. Our college scholarship program currently supports over 100 young women attending college at Can Tho University, Dong Tap University, Tra Vinh University, and Vinh Long Community College in the Mekong Delta.

Our first college graduate in 2015 pictured below now a production supervisor in the Mekong Delta with Lois Vietri, Executive Director of WEAV.

WEAV launches in 2011

Vietri launch speech in English and Vietnamese

I love Vietnam and I love to learn.

Tôi yêu Việt Nam và tôi yêu thích học hỏi.

I found a way to weave together those two passions by establishing a non-profit organization, Women’s Empowerment and Voice and launching it in Vietnam!

Tôi đã tìm ra cách để kết hợp hai niềm đam mê đó: thành lập một tổ chức phi lợi nhuận, WEAV “Vì tiếng nói và quyền của phụ nữ”, và khởi động chương trình này tại Việt Nam.

Launching WEAV today, here in the Mekong Delta, takes me on a new stage of my journey in Vietnam…a journey that began over 20 years ago.

Việc khai mạc tổ chức Weav hôm nay ở đồng bằng sông Cửu Long đưa tôi sang một giai đọan mới trong hành trình của mình ở Việt Nam, một hành trình đã khởi đầu từ hơn 20 năm trước.

In 1990 my quest to be a dedicated student of Vietnam unfolded…I came here first as a professor… I made countless friends and colleagues all over Vietnam…many friends for life….I engaged with some of the best students ever!

Vào những năm 1990, khát khao học hỏi về Việt Nam của tôi đã mở ra…tôi đã đến đây lần đầu trong vai trò một giáo sư….tôi đã có được nhiều vô kể bạn bè và đồng nghiệp khắp đất nước Việt Nam…Nhiều người trong số đó đã trở thành bạn thân thiết cả đời….tôi cũng đã gắn bó với một số học trò tốt nhất từ trước đến nay.

Some of my fondest memories were of the Mekong Delta…I dreamt of coming back there as an educator

Tuy nhiên, các bước phiêu lưu thú vị và yêu thích nhất của tôi là ở nơi đây, vùng Đồng bằng sông Cửu Long này.

Today I have returned to this precious delta to launch Women’s Empowerment and Voice… to weave my love of learning with my deep desire to be part of Vietnam again, to be part of what girls and women of the Mekong Delta can do for their family, their community, and their nation.

Giờ đây tôi đang trở lại vùng đồng bằng quý báu này với tổ chức WEAV… để hòa huyện lòng đam mê học hỏi với ước ao một lần nữa được là một phần của Việt Nam, là một phần của những việc mà các cháu gái, các chị em phụ nữ của đồng bằng Cửu Long đang làm cho gia đình, cho cộng đồng và cho đất nước.

This morning at Thanh Hoa Junior High School, Cai Tac Province, WEAV is pleased to award 30 scholarships to so that girls can succeed as junior and senior high school students.

Sáng nay ở trường Trung học cơ sở Thạnh Hòa, WEAV vui mừng tặng 30 học bổng giúp các cháu gái học sinh cấp 2, cấp 3 yên tâm theo đuổi việc học tập cho tốt.

In another ceremony later today, WEAV will award micro-loans so that Delta women can launch local businesses.

Chiều nay tại một buổi lễ khác, WEAV sẽ trợ vốn để các chị em ở đây có thể thuận tiện làm ăn.

But now, let the real celebration begins as these 30 worthy girls receive their much deserved scholarships.

Nhưng ngay giờ đây, hãy bắt đầu buổi lễ với 30 cháu nữ sinh nhận phần học bổng xứng đáng của mì

WEAV at 7

WEAV is now exclusively engaged in promoting education at all levels for girls in economically challenged communities. We now serve 6 provinces in Vietnam, keep girls in primary and secondary education, and send many of these graduates to college and university in the Mekong Delta. We have a fantastic corps of volunteers who work locally to identify and track the progress of our girl scholars.

In a short seven years, WEAV has awarded over 750 scholarships.

By 2020, we hope to increase our scholarship awards by 30%.

WEAV is in the U.S. and Vietnam

Our headquarters are in Cape May, N.J. and most of our Board of Directors live in the Mid-Atlantic States. Our volunteer base in Vietnam is substantial and mostly located in the southern provinces. Our volunteer base in Vietnam will expand as WEAV expands its education mission in the Central Highlands and the poor northern provinces.

WEAV Testimonials

Thanh Thao of Tu Duc Orphange speaking for all scholarship recipients at the orphanage (2017)

I would like to express our gratitude. For the past year your support has helped us to buy school supplies, pay for tutoring to study better, and attend school. It’s great that somewhere in society there is WEAV to help us who face hard time and wish to continue studying so that our life is improved….