As chairman of Richmark holdings and as a leading philanthropist, Gavin Varejes certainly knows how to get things done. Central to his many achievements is a remarkable capacity to bring people together for desirable projects, and it is this quality that is enabling Varejes to foster the growth of rugby in an apparently unlikely location, Lithuania. The world of South African rugby is currently involved in a major exchange program that will impart traditional skills and knowledge to the developing sport in Lithuania. Varejes is playing an important part in this program, particularly in its assistance to accomplished club Enerstena.
The Motivations behind Gavin Varejes’s Sports Philanthropy
The whole endeavour is close to Varejes’s heart as a South African patriot, as the son of a Lithuanian father and as a sports fan with an unsurpassed love and knowledge of rugby. Varejes has long believed in the potential of sport as an agent of human progress, and this led him to co-found the South African rugby Legends charity back in 2001. That organization is now the foremost sports charity in South Africa, and its success reflects Varejes’s firm belief that his beloved country, having overcome the trials of its difficult history, has a great deal to offer other nations in both material and creative terms.
Realistic Hope for the Future
Varejes approaches the task of developing rugby in Lithuania with real passion and with a strong belief that the country can make its mark in the world of rugby before long. To support his conviction, he cites the example of Argentina, which is now an established force in a game it only began to play at a serious level in the late 1960s early 1970s. Varejes also points out that, despite its small population, Lithuania is second only to the United States in international basketball. When it has the same effective structure in place that underpinned its successes in basketball, he observes, Lithuanian rugby can enjoy similar triumphs.