By John Brown University
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
JBU Grad Helps Oppressed Women In India
In India, some pajamas serve as more than comfortable sleepwear; they advocate for the oppressed, restore dignity and provide an opportunity for healing and freedom.
The International Princess Project is a non-profit organization working with women formerly enslaved in prostitution in India and empowering them to live free, restored lives.
IPP has two sewing centers in India where women who are rescued, released or escape from the sex trade live and work as they receive holistic after-care, such as medical care, counseling and education.
The women and girls earn income by making women's pajamas called PUNJAMMIES from beautiful Indian fabrics which are exported to the United States and sold as a premium brand of sleepwear. The proceeds from PUNJAMMIES return to India to provide income, pay living expenses and create savings accounts for the women.
Laura Roebuck, director of program for IPP, travels to India several times a year with the organization and considers herself "honored to be a part of the Lord's passionate work to fight injustice on this earth."
"By providing the women work with dignity, they are able to earn a fair trade wage, save for the future, develop valuable skills and most importantly learn that they have value and worth and begin to have hope," Roebuck said.
Roebuck grew up in Roswell, New Mexico, and attended John Brown University after being awarded a presidential scholarship. She earned her bachelor's degree in family studies and cross cultural services in 2001 and earned her Master's in leadership and ethics from the JBU graduate business program while serving as the resident director of Mayfield.
Without the scholarship, Roebuck said, she would not have attended JBU and would probably have enrolled in a community or state college in New Mexico.
"The scholarship [to JBU] set the trajectory of my future," she said.
While working as RD of Mayfield, the Lord sparked in Roebuck a passion for helping emotionally and sexually victimized women. After earning her Master's, Roebuck moved to Southern California and began working as the director of a crisis pregnancy medical clinic. Later, she joined the International Princess Project as director of program. The concepts she learned both inside and outside the classroom while studying at JBU tremendously shaped her worldview.
"I learned to take my faith into my vocation and was exposed to hundreds of opportunities to do that," she said. "I have no clue what my life would be like without receiving the scholarship."