Tuesday, October 06, 2009


Hi folks.

This year, I'm doing my social work placement at a hospital in Toronto. Gathering experience from my last placement as well as my current, I've come to the conclusion that unpaid internships/placements are unethical and problematic.

During my hospital orientation, one of the staff said "if it weren’t for the yearly social work students, we would not be able to function properly, or serve all the patients here." A statement like this makes me wonder about the use of my and other students' labour without proper (i.e. any) compensation. We're clearly an asset to the hospital – without which the hospital social workers would be there longer hours. So to use us without paying us seems like an unfair system.

To further this point, we are actually paying tuition through the nose to our educational institutions to give us these exploitative placements. That's right, "exploitative." Attempting to think about this logically will kill your brain cells. It is true that we gain valuable experience that will help us in our future employment opportunities and blah blah. But we could also learn just as well if we were being financially compensated.

I'm not saying I should be paid full wages with benefits. I'd like to simply point out the inherently unethical system.

End of rant. For now.


Lud said...

maybe there were being nice when they said they could not do it without people like you.....hehe

I had similar experiences during my undergraduate years and what I reasoned was that if we were getting paid there was 'more' expected from us. And that 'more' was not what I was prepared to give, at least at that time.

Anonymous said...

You pay tuitions?!! umm.

Anonymous said...

There a lot of fuss about the niqab in the city?!! what do you think??

Asmaa said...

Lud, they were not just being nice. I am an asset :P

Anon 1: yes.

Really anonymous, really? I'll humour you.

Here's what I think: it's rubbish. People are and have always been overly concerned with a woman's body and how she chooses to adorn or conceal it. People need to back off.

For example, I think high heels are damn oppressive and unhealthy, but I don't go around asking for the banning of all heels higher than 1 inch, do I?

Anonymous said...

No, that is not what I meant!!!

What I need to know is what do you think about the Niqab from a Muslim woman prospective as there is many people says it is alien to Islam and a pre-Islam practice, and some says it is obligatory and it is a sin if you don't have it, and both have supports from the quran and the sunnah. I was just doing some readings, and it got me confused? that is why I though to ask.
I came across this link, though to share it with you, again



Asmaa said...

Anon, please go to a scholarly source, as I will not be giving "fatwas" or even personal opinions on the ruling of niqab. I have no knowledge background that makes me qualified to speak on the subject. I'm just a Muslim who knows how to type :P

I will say, however, that women who choose to wear the niqab are brave & wonderful, and do not deserve their rights usurped by people in power.

Anonymous said...

Enough said,

Thanks for your inputs.

take care.


Individualism, a muslim's worst enemy said...

from both the Islamic and social work prospective is not your thoughts individualistic and selfish?

And look at those who applied to get into the master's program but did not, would they not just die to be in the position you are in?!

Did the prophet (P.B.U.H.) ever ask for anything in return for helping others?

I understand one may ask for compensation but if one looks at the position you are in by being blessed to work in social work & help others; If one has the niyaat & intention for helping others without complaining and only for seeking reward from Allah (s.w.t) then you would be awarded an even greater compensation.

Abdul said...

excellent answers asmaa :-)

i really like ur high heels example. I think i'm gonna be using that!!!


Asmaa said...

Individualism, yeah my thoughts probably are selfish. Jazak Allahu Khairan for reminding...

Still, flip your statement around and start thinking about what Islam's perspective on adequate payment for labour is...

I still don't think it's fair that I'm somewhere 9-5, and I take work home, without any compensation. It's an idealistic world where you want people to do things for free.

"Did the prophet (P.B.U.H.) ever ask for anything in return for helping others?" No, he didn't. But he is not us, and we should not take the "high road" by not asking for anything in return for our labour. Nor do I think it's somehow more holy to do things for free all of the time - we need sustenance to live and keep ourselves healthy.

He who collects and distributes zakah is eligible to take from it, correct? How do we explain this fact (which is in the Quran, mind you) if the ideal is to do good without some worldly gain?

I was not trying to promote "greed" or dilute the nobleness of purity of intention. I was only making a point about what I perceive to be an inherent flaw in the system of education.

Abdul, thanks :)

8 Years Old With Attitude said...

Define ethics please.

Asmaa said...

no. you.

8 Years Old With Attitude said...


Do you definition problems Tamika?

Individualism... said...

I agree with your most of your comments. Not that I am referring to you but do you really think when nowadays people ask for more money is it really for giving zakah or is it coz I can get the new ipod or iphone?!

The one part I do not agree with you is saying the Prophet (PBUH) is not us and we should not take the high road?...why not that's more like a cop out. I totally agree we cannot reach the heights that the Prophet PBUH has reached but to say we can't do that and accept it is not right. I could say the same about Tahajud prayers so why bother trying to pray the Prophet did it but he's not us. Why do nafil fasts, why do anything that is not Fard?! What I'm getting at is if we accept and not do anything when we should try to do so (is it impossible for you to take the high road?!)

Anonymous said...

It's exploitation, you pinned it. And you are right, we pay $$ousands for the privilege of it. Unethical indeed, and highly oppressive.