In light of Youth Month, TYI – Independent Media's youth-centric digital platform – will be sharing stories of hope that serve to inspire our young generation of leaders.

Here is Sian Ferguson's story:

"The best advice I ever got was to give my heart a voice: to write what my mouth couldn't say in order to heal and to create change," says Sian Ferguson.

In her 21 years, Sian Ferguson has experienced mental illness, poverty and sexual violence. Instead of allowing this to destroy her, she began writing about the issues that mattered to her.

Her articles about social justice, sexual violence, polyamory, sex work, mental health, travel, queer issues, gender inequality, activism, politics and feminism have been featured on websites like Everyday Feminism, The Good Men Project, Women24 and Matador Network.

When she was forced to change universities to avoid seeing her rapist on campus, she became an anti-rape activist. Last year she was on the planning committee of Silent Protest at Rhodes University, one of South Africa’s biggest anti-rape protests, and she was also vice-chair of the Gender Action Project, a society at the university that focuses on gender equality and ending sexual violence.

A feminist of note, Ferguson also interns at The Feminist Job Board, an online resource for finding and posting feminist jobs.

“Not everyone in the world will agree with progressive ideas,” she says. “And that’s okay. We don’t have to reach everyone, but if I manage to reach only one person, I would have made a positive impact on their life, and that makes my work worth doing.”

* #StoriesofHope is a partnership between TYI and TPA, The President’s Award for Youth Empowerment.

Comment on Ferguson’s story of hope by following @theyoungindy on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

** For more stories of hope, access www.tyi.co.za or submit your story to TYI Editor at [email protected]