Timeya Leshko doesn’t see much of a future for her four children in Ukraine, where a Moscow-backed conflict still flares up in the east and economic opportunities seem few and far between elsewhere.They want you to leave.
"There’s no way to earn a living here. Everyone knows that. All the young people are leaving," Leshko told RFE/RL’s Ukrainian Service in a recent interview. "And I don’t think it’s going to get better, only worse."
The ethnic Hungarian in the sleepy village of Mali Heivtsi on Ukraine’s western fringes, not far from Slovakia and Hungary, is convinced that learning her native tongue is the ticket out for her kids.
But that may be tougher for Leshko and other ethnic minorities in Ukraine after the country’s parliament passed an educational-reform bill on September 5 that includes a clause making Ukrainian the required language of study in state schools from the fifth grade on.
Leshko is not a fan of the bill, which would roll back the option for lessons to be taught in other languages.
"I don't like it. Why? Because, for example, I am a Hungarian. I was studying in a Hungarian school and I want my children also to speak Hungarian," she explained. "Maybe they will move to Hungary or maybe they will go there to earn money. In that case, the Hungarian language will be more useful than Ukrainian, I think."
This is what the Quebecois did in Canada, and they have been fairly successful.