(CNN) -- During Rachel Rosenfeld's junior year in high school, the unexpected happened.
Rachel Rosenfeld, 17, founded the R.S. Rosenfeld School in Srah Khvav village in Siem Reap province, Cambodia.
She developed a stomach condition that kept her out of school the whole year. While recovering, her sense of purpose changed after reading a New York Times article on the plight of young Cambodians.
The article followed a 17-year-old girl who most likely would have been forced into prostitution if she didn't go to school. The problem was that there were no schools in the girl's village.
Rachel, now 17 herself, remembers how the story inspired her to write letters asking for donations so the girl could go to school.
"Reading that, I really realized how much I was taking my own education for granted before I got sick," Rachel said. "It really touched me and hit home, and I knew I needed to do something to help."
After hundreds of letters were forwarded across the country, Rachel received $52,000 in donations. In December 2007, she attended the opening of the R.S. Rosenfeld School in Cambodia's Siem Reap province. Now, 300 students there can get an education, thanks to funding from an unexpected place. E-mail to a friend