Serdar Ferit portrait

Written by Serdar Ferit

Filmmaker, digital experience designer, and teacher who has won numerous awards and worked in over 20 countries on film, new media and education projects. Co-CEO of Lyfta.


I founded Lyfta with my amazing wife, Paulina, 7 years ago, and since then we have built the most phenomenal team. Our journey started in 2004, with a story that inspired us, and over the years it has developed into our life’s work. Like many of the people we work with in education, we want our legacy to be one of big, positive and lasting change.

For those who don’t know, Lyfta is a learning space for children where they can access powerful, real-life stories through short documentary films and explorable immersive environments. We learn through stories and Lyfta is designed to teach children about the incredible and varied web of people and communities across the globe.

Legacy is something I have been thinking about a lot lately. Just as I thought Lyfta was finally finding its feet, with a complete team and a sense of a gear change on the horizon – a less intense one for me, I hoped! – I found out that I have colorectal cancer. This was in early October. The doctors initially said it was at an early stage and a slow grower, but after a couple of biopsies and numerous scans, in mid November, I found out that it has spread to my liver; stage 4. A bit of a curveball at 42.

The most difficult thing I have done in my life is telling our 8 year old son that I have cancer. Not being able to reassure him, with authenticity, that everything will be OK, triggered a cocktail of emotions I’ve not experienced before, and wouldn’t wish on anyone.

I’m not telling you this so you can feel sorry for me. I’m determined to beat this thing. I know that the key to this will be my frame of mind. I am a relentlessly positive person, but the last few months have been challenging in that regard. 

Darkness and Light

I know I’m not the only one who has had a difficult period. Most of us have had a very challenging last few years. As a leader, part of my duty is to see the light, and to guide my team towards it. Over the last couple of years, light has not always been in abundance. At times, for many of us, things have been rather gloomy. But I think we all know that there is always light, no matter how dark it seems. This is something I’ve had to remind myself recently. And look for.

I am constantly nourished through the meetings I have with other people and the authentic human stories that we have curated and collected on Lyfta over the years. Stories move me. They have been invaluable in giving me different perspectives, in helping me see outside of my own world. Hearing about other people – what they achieve, who they love, the hardships they face and overcome – these stories sustain and change us. 

Grown ups need stories too: a series of events to spread hope and inspiration. The amazing poet and storyteller Ben Okri said, ‘Stories can conquer fear and make the heart bigger.’ I think we need this at the moment – I certainly do. In an effort to inject some light and positivity into my life, and the lives of others, over the next year, I will be hosting a series of short online events where I will share short and powerful documentary stories that personify hope and resilience. 

These online sessions will be for anyone who needs a lift or a bit of inspiration. A space where you will be able to put your worries to one side and be taken on a short journey. We will immerse ourselves into real human stories of resilience and hope, followed by a reflection exercise which will give you a space to express your thoughts if you wish to.

The Format

The sessions will be an hour long and there will be six over the coming year. We will explore two very different stories in each session, followed by a short reflection exercise, and, over the series, we will travel to at least 10 different countries. The stories are incredible and I am honoured and excited to share them with a wider audience.

There will be an opportunity to donate too, which will go towards subsidising Lyfta for all schools and provide a bursary fund for schools in financial difficulty, or with pupils in need or crisis.

Lighting the Way: Please Join Me

If you are interested in joining me for this journey, for one, some or all of the sessions, please register on the Eventbrite link. You could also get tickets for loved ones, colleagues, or even a whole team! The strength of the sessions will be the stories that we see and hear on screen, but it will be your stories too, and how we find and weave meaning in our lives – it will be that which will make these gatherings so powerful. 

I look forward to meeting you around the virtual fireside, and finding the light to inspire us through 2023. I hope you can join me.