Rebuilding Faces after the Rwandan Genocide

Rebuilding Faces after the Rwandan Genocide


The scars of atrocity never truly vanish. The horrific Rwandan Genocide of the 1990s, which was one of the worst mass crimes in modern human history, left a wound on the people of Rwanda that is still present today. Roughly 70 percent of the Tutsi people were killed for political reasons, and many others were left disfigured.

There is genuinely no way to process the mindless violence that took part in the genocide. There are, though, some who strive to seek out the goodness of humanity, even in the midst of tragedy. Dr. Jose Barrera did just that.


Dr. Barrera, an extraordinarily skilled and double board-certified facial plastic surgeon, based out of San Antonio, Tx., often leverages his talents to help the people of Rwanda.

“It’s an amazing country. People are willing to help each other. The tribal disputes have settled. But, there is great need,” Dr. Barrera said in an interview. “The great need stems from the fact that there has not been a plastic surgeon in the country for the past twenty years.”

During their yearly trip to Rwanda, Dr. Barrera and The Face the Future Foundation Mission help individuals in need of craniofacial and other forms of surgery. Some of these patients are children who do not have access to a plastic surgeon. Others suffered gunshot wounds to the face during the genocide, which happened over twenty years prior.

Finding Motivation in the Face of Heartbreak

Dr. Barrera explained that his trips to Rwanda are immensely trying, partly because of the sheer number of people in the country that need a plastic surgeon.

“It’s very difficult. My faith in God and the support from my family help me to get through in these situations,” Dr. Barrera stated in an interview from the Best Docs Network. “You go into it very motivated and full of energy. But there is a pause.”

The “pause” that Dr. Barrera alludes to is the heartbreak he felt when he realized that he could not help everyone. The fact that Dr. Barrera can make a difference in any of these patients’ lives is already incredible, but that Dr. Barrera’s thoughts were with those he could not help is a testament to his outstanding compassion and character. His ability to help any of these patients makes him thankful to be able to return to Rwanda year after year.

About Dr. Jose Barrera

He has served more than thirty years in the United States Air Force and has a special connection to helping people in war-torn countries. Dr. Barrera has transformed the lives of men, women, and children in countries around the world. He is also a renowned author, professor, and family man.

One of the very best facial plastic surgeons in the industry, Dr. Barrera spends most of his time helping the residents of the San Antonio area with their reconstructive, aesthetic, and sleep medicine needs. If you are interested in learning more about the services offered by Dr. Barrera, call his office at (210) 468-5426 or schedule a consultation today.