Sara’s father, Faize, who teaches marketing and management at KFUPM Community College, was struck by Ritaj’s confidence and poise. “She is so inspiring,” he said.
Yasmeen Siddig, a graduate of Imam Abdulrahman bin Faisal University in Dammam, helped organize the Summer Series and worked closely with Ritaj to structure her webinars.
“Usually when you are dealing with a kid, you are ready to deal with a kid,” said Yasmeen, who has a 12-year-old sister of her own. “But Ritaj is not like that. There’s a maturity in her and the way she expresses her thoughts and ideas that is well beyond her age.”
In May 2021, Dr. Sam moderated Ritaj’s application to make her claim for the Guinness record in a video presentation that ran well over an hour. During her submission, Ritaj cited her appearances at Wa’ed’s Google Grind events as well as her hosting of the Summer Series.
Ritaj says her approach to writing is methodical but leaves room for surprise and fantasy.
“When I start writing, I try to visualize the scene,” said Ritaj, who starts eighth grade at a Dammam private school this fall. “Usually, I don’t know how a scene will end when I begin writing. When I teach writing, it is important to listen, to let people express their special literary voices.”
Ritaj helped refine her listening skills in Wa’ed’s IES association, where she is the youngest of about 1,600 members. Her fast rise to prominence and recognition as a Guinness Book world recordholder is a powerfu example of what Saudi entrepreneurs can achieve through IES.
"IES is for leaders and winners and Ritaj's success shows just how diverse our group really is," said Dr Sam, its founder and president.
When she’s not spending up to two hours a day writing 1,000 words of her latest novel, “The Fantasy Sky,” Ritaj is teaching English writing and doing homework. She is planning a non-fiction book on “What Kids Can Do to Fight Climate Change” she wants to pitch to Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates.
But first, she’s spending time doing things 13-year-olds often do, like eating cheesecake with strawberries, reading Harry Potter novels and thinking up science fiction plots.