United Minds

empowering the next generation  


  Thanh Binh Pham (Monika)

Fundraising Director, Teacher

Thanh Binh Pham (Monika) is a Vietnamese girl, born on November 24th, 1996, in Warsaw, Poland. She attended primary and junior school in the French School of Warsaw, "Lycée Français de Varsovie" and is now currently a student at the IB World School 1531 "Raszyńska". Two of her several interests are learning new languages and experiencing new cultures. She has been learning foreign languages from an early age and is now fluent in four of them: French, English, Polish and Vietnamese. She is also keen on expanding upon that list in the future. In addition, she holds a deep passion for music which spans as far back as her primary school days when started playing the piano at the age of seven.

Her teaching experience started at the age of fourteen when she decided to teach mathematics and English in Poland for a year. That summer as well as the following one, she spent teaching music to the blind children at the "Nguyen Dinh Chieu" school for the visually impaired children in Ho Chi Minh. During the second summer, apart from being a teacher she was also the fundraising director. Throughout her experience of teaching children, she was fascinated by how their minds functioned in an alternate way to her own. Her work got her interested in psychology and neuroscience.

Her intention is to major in Computer Science and minor in psychology or neuroscience at a university in the United States.


This year, she was teaching mathematics and English in Poland. Just briefly into her first lesson, she was able to tell it would a more difficult task than she imagined. She began with having troubles to explain the applied theories or solutions to an exercise; she noticed how the students were completely lost and did not comprehend most of what she explained. This activity served as a good source to improve her patience, as her first few lessons proved to test this. However, she began to realize how logical all of this was to her in contrast to how her students perceived it. She started by trying to explain every idea in the simplest form which made it easier for them to understand. Furthermore, she tried to involve the students in the lesson more by asking frequent questions, having them answer exercises on the board, and even creating small competitions, which made each class more productive and fruitful. 


   Even though she has spent all her life in one city, she still feels a deep connection with her home country. Last summer, she went back to Vietnam to teach music in the school for the visually impaired children. The aim of this program was to help children learn appreciation for music. In order to do so, the teachers prepared lessons on various kinds of instruments. Monika had been given responsibility for lessons revolving around the string instrument family (violin, viola, cello, double bass, and harp). Due to her class, the children were now able to distinguish different string instruments when given an extract of music. Moreover, Monika was among one of the many musical teachers at this school, teaching the piano.



   This year was different however; Monika had been given the position of fundraising director. Not only did she teach the piano, but she was also able to teach them about open mindedness by using a series of activities in other classes. She considers this quote to express how she feels about this trait; "In my opinion, open-mindedness is crucial in life because thanks to it, you can discover new things as well as new perspectives. The lack of this quality could make you miss out on something that could have been your passion or brought you a lot happiness. Its presence can make life simpler during difficult times and easier to appreciate during wonderful moments." Being  a fundraising director was Monika's first work experience.