Nancy Cafferty and Dr. Raana Mahmood

Nancy Cafferty and Dr. Raana Mahmood.

The library changes lives—as evidenced by the experience of Dr. Raana Mahmood, who recently stopped by the library to show off her new book about surviving sexual abuse in Pakistan.

The book, The Courage to Say No: A Pakistani Female Doctor’s Battle Against Sexual Exploitation, written with John DeSimone, was published in September by Skyhorse.

Mahmood came to the United States fearing for her life—and struggling to get by. She says she faced domestic violence in her marriage and sexual harassment in the workplace, eventually having a nervous breakdown before arriving in New York.

“The library was nearby. I searched through the Internet where I could spend time,” says Mahmood, who was used to going to libraries as a child in Pakistan.

She discovered the Job & Business Academy at Central Library in 2009, where she met Nancy Cafferty, a career coach who helped Mahmood work on a resume, her first in the United States. “She introduced me to a lot of other opportunities and resources. It looked like a door was open to America,” says Mahmood.

“Raana was just trying to get a job and a room that she could call her own, her first small step forward. I feel elated that she found us,” says Cafferty, who Mahmood calls the most supportive person she’s ever met.

Cafferty encouraged Mahmood’s efforts to write a book to tell her story, sharing with her resources and the idea of connecting with a ghostwriter. Years later, the two women reunited at the library to celebrate Mahmood’s success as an author and advocate.

Mahmood, who practiced both gynecology and geriatrics in Pakistan, wants to practice medicine again, so she is currently studying to qualify as a doctor in the United States.

Come to the JBA today to work on your resume and get help with your job search.

Watch our video with Nancy Cafferty and Dr. Raana Mahmood.