‘I feel free here’: how a miracle girls' school was built in India's 'golden city'

A strikingly-designed centre reminiscent of Rajasthan’s famous forts will soon be opening its doors in conservative Jaisalmer

“Don’t even try,” friends told Michael Daube, when he said he wanted to coax women in Jaisalmer to embroider yoga bags to help them earn some income.

For the most part, at least in rural areas, this is Federico García Lorca territory, where marriage for a woman, as a character in the Spanish poet’s play Blood Wedding describes it, is “a man, children, and as for the rest a wall that’s two feet thick”. Rajasthan is one of the most conservative states in India, where ancient customs circumscribe a woman’s freedom and in turn any chance of economic independence.

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